Spain Tour: India lose the Fourth match by 1-4

Captain Rani Rampal in Action
The Indian Women’s Hockey team slipped to a 1-4 defeat to hosts Spain in the fourth match of their Spain Tour at the Consejo Superior de Deportes Hockey Stadium on Saturday. Lola Riera (10’, 34’) continued her fine form as she scored twice in her team’s victory and was helped by goals from Lucia Jimenez (19’) and Carmen Cano (37’). India’s only goal of the match was scored by Udita in the 22nd minute.
Hosts Spain won two Penalty Corners within the first five minutes to put some pressure on the visitors. But the Indian team was up to the task and kept out the two tries from the World No 11 team. However, the Spanish side looked in prime form during the opening 20 minutes of the match, which saw them score twice to put the visitors on the backfoot. First, it was Lola Riera who converted a Penalty Corner in the 10th minute to give her team the lead. While, the second goal was scored by Lucia Jimenez in the 19th minute as she rounded off a brilliant team move to take her team’s lead to two goals.
It was India’s turn to put pressure on the hosts as they looked to fight back in the match. The visitors focused on their defending and built some momentum, causing the Spanish side to play deep. The pressure paid off for the visitors in the 22nd minute when Udita found the back of the net after linking up with her teammates to score a field-goal. The visitors started to play expansive hockey 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.
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. The hosts scored their third goal on the back of a Penalty Corner in the 33rd minute as the resulting drag-flick was adjudged to be blocked by the last Indian defender. The umpire awarded Spain with a Penalty Stroke which was well converted by Lola Riera in the 34th minute. Another attack by the Spanish in the 37th minute saw Carmen Cano deflect a cross from outside the striking circle into the back of the net, making the score 4-1 in favour of the hosts. The visitors tried to pull 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, but the first rusher blocked the first try while India’s Goalkeeper Swati made a save on the hosts’ second attempt. India tried to build some attacks in the final quarter but Spain made sure that they were not successful. The World No. 10 team created a few opportunities in the closing stages but the Spanish kept a deep line and crowded their own striking circles with defenders, seeing out a 4-1 victory over India.
The two teams will play their fifth and final match on Monday, 18th June 2018 at 23.00hrs IST.

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