Women’s hockey: Spain beats India in series opener

Berta Bonastre scored a goal and Lola Reira chipped in with a brace as India was defeated 3-0 in Madrid.

File Photo: Lola Reira (front) scored two late goals to help defeat India comprehensively.   -  Getty Images

The Indian women’s team was defeated 3-0 by Spain in the opening contest of the five-match series at Consejo Superior de Deportes Hockey Stadium in Madrid on Wednesday.

Spain was helped by the efficient finishing shown by Lola Riera (48’, 52’) and Berta Bonastre (6’) whose goals were enough to secure victory.

Spain dominated possession in the opening quarter as 26-year-old Bonastre found herself in the right spot to score the opening goal in only the sixth minute. The host looked close to add a second goal but India’s defence held on in the first quarter. The Indians also created chances, but they weren’t adequately threatening. Captain Rani Rampal had a glorious chance in the 14th minute but her shot ended up going wide.

Keen tussle

India started the second quarter fairly well as Anupa Barla’s shot in the 19th minute was saved by Spanish goalkeeper Maria Ruiz. In the next minute, Rani had her second chance of the match but could not get the equalising goal.

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India was awarded a penalty corner in the 24th minute but the resulting shot went just wide of the Spanish post. Two minutes later, Spain looked to counter India and forced a reflex save from goalkeeper Savita.

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The Indian shot-stopper was called into action again at the start of the third quarter when she made a save from a penalty corner. At the other end of the pitch, Rani tried to make amends of the missed opportunities but her shot on goal was saved by Maria Ruiz.

Late goals

India looked close to find an equaliser in the final quarter of the match; it took a more attacking approach and let runners get past the Spanish defenders on the flanks.

However, a common-ball hit Sunita Lakra’s head and the referee decided to give a penalty stroke to Spain, which was converted well by Riera in the 48th minute. Four minutes later, Riera scored her second goal of the match as her drag-flick from a penalty corner was deflected by Sunita Lakra’s stick into the back of the net, giving Spain a 3-0 lead.

India’s attempts to find an opening in the latter stages of the match proved in vain.