On August 13, 2015, India played their last match of the fortnight-long European tour at the Club Egara in the Spanish city of Terrassa about 40 kilometers from Barcelona. After losing the first match 1-4 on Monday, Sardar Singh and his boys bounced back to beat the hosts 2-0 in the second match at Sant Cugat del Valles on Wednesday, August 12. In the third match on Friday at Terrassa, they inflicted a 4-2 defeat to Spain and ended their tour on a high. India’s 2-1 series win was brought about by two fourth-quarter goals from forward Ramandeep Singh and one goal each from Rupinder Pal Singh and Akashdeep Singh. Spain managed to reduce the deficit through goals from Ricardo Santana and Xavier Lleonart.
The match saw a fast-paced first quarter, in which both teams vied with one another to wrest control in the early stages. Spain were the first to earn a penalty corner but the attempt was thwarted by an ever alert PR Sreejesh. Soon afterwards, India’s forwards went into a counter-attack mode and came close to scoring but a strong Spanish defense foiled their efforts. The tussle continued for 15 minutes but the first quarter ended goalless. There was no let-up in the intensity as the second quarter began. In a change of tactics, both teams resorted to long passes and on two occasions, Chinglensana Singh managed to enter the Spanish penalty area. However, he failed to convert his chances against a fortified Spanish defense. In the 24th minute, however, India earned a penalty corner and ace drag-flicker, Rupinder Pal Singh found the mark take India 1-0 up. However, the advantage was lost in the next minute itself, when Spain’s Ricardo Santana made a great solo move and after dribbling past the Indian defenders scored the equalizer for his team. The second quarter ended at 1-1.
The third quarter also saw a change of strategies but India seemed to hold an upper hand and attacked Spain’s goal from all around. Spain also made attacks on Indian goal and managed a penalty corner. Once again, Sreejesh denied the Spaniard and score remained level at 1-1. India continued their attack on the goal and earned another penalty corner but this time Rupinder shot wide. However, in the dying minutes of the third quarter, Akashdeep Singh smartly sneaked into the Spanish circle and after dribbling past a couple of defenders, shot the ball into the goal. The third quarter ended at 2-1 in favor of India. In the fourth quarter, Spain fortified their attacking line by bringing in another forward. This resulted in some fierce attack on the Indian goal. However, India’s defense remained solid for a while. However, Spain found the equalizer in the 49th minute, when Xavier Lleonart scored a great field goal. The pace of the game was intensified immediately after that and in the 50th minute, Ramandeep Singh cashed on a long pass and broke the Spanish defense before shooting powerfully into the goal. It was now 3-2 for India. Ramandeep did not rest content and scored one more goal in the very next minute to make the score 4-2. In the closing stages, Spain had a chance to come-back but Sreejesh denied them once again by his brilliant goalkeeping. The match ended 4-2 in India’s favor and their European tour was concluded on the winning note.
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