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India lose final hockey Test against Spain

August 13, 2009 15:06 IST

India's perennial habit of conceding last minute goals undid all the good work as visitors went down 4-5 in their third and final hockey Test against Spain in Terrassa, on Thursday night.

India came back from a 1-4 deficit to level the score but Albert Sala's 70th minute strike crushed their hopes.

Xavi Ribas (8th minute), Eduard Tabau (12th), David Alegre (25th), Alex Fabregas (27th) and Sala (70th min) were the goal-getters for Spain, while India reduced margin through Sardara Singh (28th), Vikram Pillay (54th and 57th) and Sandeep Singh (66th).

India had received a 2-8 mauling at the hands of Spain in the first Test before the visitors pulled one back by winning the second match -- a truncated friendly of 20 minutes each half -- by a solitary goal.

India now travel to Amsterdam for the final leg of their Europe tour where they play Holland on Friday and Sunday.

The hosts began aggressively with constant raids on the Indian defence by Tabau and Xavi Lleonart supported by strong midfield overlaps.

India conceded a penalty corner in the eighth minute when the ball struck skipper Sandeep Singh's foot and Ribas made no mistake as he sunk one low on the left of goalkeeper Adrian D'souza.

Indians soon conceded another soft goal as Tabau dribbled past defenders Sandeep and Sardar Singh and beat D'souza with a wrong foot shot in the 12th minute.

Rattled by early setbacks, the Indian defence and midfield began ball rotation but the forwards Prabhjot Singh, Gurvinder Chandi and Rajpal Singh were unable to penetrate past goalkeeper Francisco Cortes.

Spain increased the lead when after David Alegre converted the second penalty corner.

The Spanish domination in the first half was complete when Alex Fabregas picked up a loose ball in the centre and banged home in the 27th minute to give them a 4-0 lead.

India had little consolation in this session except for Sardar Singh's goal orchestrated by Dhananjay Mahadik and SV Sunil a minute later.

In the second half, India came back forcefully with well co-ordinated onslaughts. They reduced the margin in the 54th minute after a combination sortie by Shivendra Singh and Chandi led to a minus pass for Vikram Pillay who slotted past Cortes.

Pillay was the man for India again three minutes later when India were awarded a penalty stroke when he was felled by Cortes after Chandi's set up. The Pune lad made no mistake as he narrowed the margin to 3-4.

India's fourth goal and equaliser came in the 66th minute when Rajpal and Arjun Halappa outwitted the Spanish defence earning the second penalty corner which found the back of the net off Sandeep Singh's power packed dragflick.

In the last minute of play India built an offensive with Rajpal and Shivendra but the former mispassed to Ribas who built the Spanish turnover for Fabregas and Sala to clinch the 5-4 victory.

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