Sant Cugat del Valles: Indian men's hockey team returned to winning ways and defeated hosts Spain 2-0 in the fourth match of the ongoing tour of Europe, on Wednesday.
After emerging winners against France in the two matches of their first leg, India had started the second leg of the Europe tour with a disappointing 1-4 defeat against Spain on Monday.
But the Sardar Singh-led side bounced back strongly in the second match against Spain to level the series 1-1. Ramandeep Singh (17th) and Akashdeep Singh (33rd) scored two field goals to register the win for India. Stunned by the loss in the first match against Spain, the Indians started aggressively on Wednesday.
S V Sunil and Akashdeep exchanged some good passes to set up India's first scoring chance but they were denied by the Spanish goalkeeper, who made a brilliant save. Spain also made some good forays inside the Indian circle but visiting team custodian P R Sreejesh was upto the mark as both the teams failed to break the deadlock in the first quarter.
Spain had the first shot at goal in the second quarter when they were awarded a penalty corner but Sreejesh deflected stood like a rock in front of the Indian goal to deny the hosts. Sunil then earned a penalty corner for India but the visitors failed to convert the chance. But soon India took the lead in the 17th minute through a field goal from Ramandeep Singh.
Thereafter, both the team's mounted attacks on each other's citadel but failed to find the back of the net as India went into halftime with a slender 1-0 lead. After the change of ends, India started from where they left and kept good control over the proceedings.
India's positive play bore fruit three minutes into the third quarter when Akashdeep slammed the ball into the Spanish goal after receiving a beautiful pass from Ramandeep to double the visitor's lead.
India kept up the pressure on the Spanish defence and continued to dominate the remainder of the match, including the entire last quarter. Spain got a chance to pull one back in the final quarter when they earned a penalty corner but the Indian defence stood tall as Sreejesh came to his side's rescue with another fine save.
India will play their last match of Europe tour against Spain on Thursday.