The second match of the five matches between the Indian Women’s Hockey Team and Spain ended in a 1-1 draw here at the Consejo Superior de Deportes Hockey Stadium on Wednesday. It was a match of two halves as hosts Spain dominated the match in the first two quarters but the Indian team made a comeback in the latter two quarters. It was Spain’s Berta Bonastre (14’) who opened the scoring but India’s Anupa Barla equalized in the 54th minute which meant that the match ended in a well-fought draw.
The opening quarter saw both the teams vie for possession in midfield and creating a few chances. It was the hosts who managed to take the lead in the 14th minute as their 26-year-old forward Betra Bonastre found herself in space and scored in her second consecutive match to put the pressure on the visitors. World No. 10 India started the second quarter well and had a couple of chances, but could not manage to beat the Spanish Goalkeeper Maria Ruiz. The Indian midfield made sure that they won back possession quickly to put pressure on the hosts, but the hosts kept up a resolute defensive structure to take their 1-0 lead into half-time.
India started to get into rhythm in the third quarter with the defence keeping out Spain’s efforts and converting the defence into attack quickly. A strong third quarter performance from the Indian team saw them knocking on the hosts’ door, with Skipper Rani coming close to finding the equaliser in the latter minutes of the quarter.
India’s Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne replaced Goalkeeper Savita with Swati at the start of the fourth quarter. The World No. 10 team continued playing some attacking hockey in the last quarter as well and put constant pressure on the hosts, which saw the visitors earn an equaliser in the 54th minute when Anupa Barla’s deflected shot went past Spanish Goalkeeper Maria Ruiz into the back of the net.
The Indian team could have scored a late winner as they were high on confidence in the closing stages of the match, however Maria Ruiz came to the World No. 11 team’s rescue to keep the scores levelled at 1-1.
The two teams will play the third of their five matches on Friday, 15th June 2018 at 23.00hrs IST.
Sushila Chanu completes 150 International Caps
Indian Women’s Hockey Team’s second match against Spain saw Indian defender Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam complete her 150 International Caps for the country. The 26-year-old from Manipur has been an integral part of the Indian team since making her International debut in the Test Series against New Zealand in Christchurch in the year 2009 aged just 17.
The young defender took up hockey at the age of 11 when she joined the Posterior Hockey Academy in her native Manipur. Sushila then shifted to the Madhya Pradesh Women Hockey Academy in 2007 where she developed into a great prospect for the national team, making her Junior International debut at the Under-21 Asia Cup held in Malaysia in 2008.
The highly-rated 26-year-old went on to win the Silver Medal at the 6th Junior Women Asia Cup in Thailand and featured in the Senior team’s Gold Medal winning campaign at the FIH World League Round 2 held in New Delhi in 2013. The defender was then selected to Captain the Indian Junior Women’s Team which won the Bronze Medal at the FIH Hockey Junior World Cup Women 2013 held in Mönchengladbach, Germany. Her meteoric rise saw her become a regular fixture in the Senior team post the tournament. She has since represented the country in various tournaments including the 8th Women’s Asia Cup 2013, 9th Women’s Asia Cup 2017 where India won the Gold Medal, 17th Asian Games where the team won the Bronze Medal, 2014 and 2018 editions of the Commonwealth Games, and most importantly the 2016 Rio Olympics where she captained the national team which had qualified for the Olympic Games after a gap of 36 years.
“I am delighted to have achieved this special milestone of completing 150 International Caps for the national team. I had always dreamed of representing the country at least once in my lifetime, but to have put on the national team colours 150 times, it makes me a very proud citizen of the country. It’s been a memorable journey with the Indian team and I hope I can contribute to the growth of the team and bring laurels to the nation in the future,” expressed a delighted Sushila ahead of the match in Madrid.
Congratulating Sushila on her feat, Md. Mushtaque Ahmad, Secretary General, Hockey India said, “I congratulate Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam on completing 150 International Caps for India. Her energy on and off the field is something that we all admire, and her contribution to women’s hockey has been immense. I would like to wish Sushila the very best for an important phase ahead in her career and I hope she can take the team to greater heights.”