Women’s hockey: Spain beats India, takes 2-1 series lead

Lola Riera starred in Spain’s 4-1 defeat of India in the fourth match of the series.

File Photo: Lola Riera continued her fine goal-scoring form, chipping in with a brace.   -  Getty Images

Spain defeated India 4-1 in Madrid to take a 2-1 lead in the five-match series.

Lola Riera (10’, 34’) continued her fine form with a brace while Lucia Jimenez (19’) and Carmen Cano (37’) chipped in with a goal each for Spain. Udita scored the only goal for India, in the 22nd minute.

Spain won two penalty corners within the first five minutes to put pressure on India, and its dominance in the first 20 minutes resulted in two goals for the team within that period. After the early setback, it was India’s turn to put pressure on the host. Inida focused on its defending and built some momentum, causing the Spanish side to play deep.

False dawn

The pressure paid off in the 22nd minute when Udita found the back of the net after networking with her team-mates to score a field-goal. India started to play expansively in the closing few minutes of the second quarter and could have equalised before the half-time break, but young striker Lalremsiami dragged her shot wide of the post.

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The third quarter was a crucial one in context of the match, and Spain’s attackers made sure that they stamped their authority by increasing their lead. Spain scored its third goal on the back of a penalty corner in the 33rd minute when the drag-flick was adjudged to be blocked by the last Indian defender.

Comprehensive defeat

The umpire awarded Spain with a penalty stroke which was well converted by Riera in the 34th minute.

Three minutes later, Carmen Cano deflected a cross from outside the striking circle into the back of the net, making the score 4-1. India tried to score a goal in the very next minute, but Lalremsiami saw her shot being saved by Spanish goalkeeper Melanie Garcia.

Spain won back-to-back penalty corners at the start of the fourth quarter; the first rusher blocked the first try while India’s goalkeeper Swati made a save on Spain’s second attempt.

India’s attempts to attack in the final quarter proved in vain.

The two teams will play their fifth and final match on Monday.