Skipper Harmanpreet Singh slammed a brace as the Indian men’s hockey team outplayed Spain 4-1 in a FIH Pro League match in Bhubaneswar on Saturday. Harmanpreet converted a penalty corner in the seventh minute before scoring from the spot in the 20th minute. Jugraj Singh also converted a penalty corner in the 24th minute while Lalit Kumar Upadhyay scored a field goal in the 50th minute to register the easy win for India. Spain’s lone goal came from a penalty-stroke conversion by Marc Miralles in the 34th minute.
The match also marked veteran midfielder and former captain Manpreet Singh’s 350th international game after he made his India debut in 2011.
Spain started on a positive note, enjoying ball possession in the first five minutes but failed to create any clear-cut chance.
Soon Hardik Singh earned India’s first penalty corner and in his 199th match, Harmanpreet scored his 150th penalty-corner goal.
It was a perfect penalty corner, strong and low, which beat Spain goalkeeper Luis Calzado all ends up.
The home team was solid in defence in the first quarter as it didn’t let Spain hit the target despite enjoying possession.
At the start of the second quarter, Spain secured a penalty corner but veteran India custodian PR Sreejesh stuck his left foot out to deny the visitors.
India then secured back-to-back penalty corners and from the second chance, the hosts were awarded a penalty stroke for illegal clearance of the ball.
Harmanpreet stepped up and converted the chance to put India 2-0 up and register his 171st goal for the country.
India secured two more penalty corners in the second quarter, and after missing from the first chance, Jugraj converted the next with a powerful grounded flick through the legs of the Spanish goalkeeper.
Spain then secured a penalty corner against the run of play but Sreejesh made a double save to deny the opponents.
Four minutes after the change of ends, Spain reduced the margin through Miralles, who scored from the spot following a bad tackle by Gurjant Singh inside the circle.
India earned another penalty corner in the third quarter but Jugraj was off-target.
Five minutes into the final quarter, Lalit found himself at the right place, at the right time to score a stunning field goal with a powerful tomahawk.
The Indians then held on to the three-goal advantage with some solid defending to register the convincing win.
India will take on Netherlands in their next match in Bhubaneswar on Sunday.
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