Harmanpreet shines as India smash six goals against Spain
Days after winning the opening game of their Belgium tour, the Indian men’s hockey team registered a thumping 6-1 win over Spain on Saturday.
Spain, ranked eighth, fell into the trap early in the game as defender Harmanpreet Singh scored a couple of goals (28', 32'), while the likes of Manpreet Singh (24'), Nilakanta Sharma (39'), Mandeep Singh (56') and Rupinderpal Singh (59') also found themselves on the scoresheet to complete a resounding victory.
Silent first quarter
Getting straight into the act, India did everything to unsettle the Spanish backline. Despite enjoying the majority of possession though, they failed to win even a solitary penalty corner let alone create a clear goal-scoring opportunity in the first quarter.
Spain, on the other hand, managed to trouble the Indian goalkeeper PR Sreejesh by forcing him into a fine reflexive save off the game’s first penalty corner.
India showed their intent in the second quarter. After forcing the Spanish ‘keeper, Quico Cortes, into a couple of saves, captain Manpreet Singh finally broke the deadlock in the 24th minute to put his team in the lead. Four minutes on, and defender Harmanpreet Singh was on hand to convert through a penalty corner with a perfect drag-flick to make in 2-0 in no time.
Spain responded right before the half-time, pulling one back to ensure the teams go into the break with the score-line reading 2-1.
Shifting up a gear, India launched a barrage of attacks after the restart, forcing the Spanish team to stay within their own half. The relentless pressure paid off as Harmanpreet, in the 32nd minute, restored India’s two-goal cushion by slotting home through another penalty corner.
Seven minutes later, midfielder Nilakanta Sharma kept his cool to give India a comfortable 4-1 lead. The final quarter, too, belonged to India, with forward Mandeep Singh hammering home his team’s fifth before full-back Rupinderpal Singh – through a brilliantly taken penalty corner - added the sixth.
Following this resounding win, India will again square off against Spain on 29 September 2019 at 1730 IST.