India hold World No 5 Spain 3-3 in first Test'

Jul 07, 2012, 08:55 IST | IANS

India and hosts Spain played out a vibrant 3-3 draw in the first hockey Test at the new facility at La Albericia here yesterday.

Ranked 10th in the world, India trailed twice but bounced back well in a match that, with a bit more luck and pluck, it could have won against the team that is ranked fifth.

Tushar Khandker (left), Gurwinder Singh Chandi & SK Uthappa (right) scored for India

The vastly experienced Spanish goalkeeper Francisco Cortes made at least five brilliant saves in the final 10 minutes.

Quickly adapting to a blue turf, forward Tushar Khandker put India in the lead in the 11th minute by deflecting a cross from SV Sunil. But centre-forward Eduardo Tubau restored parity by capitalising on a pass from midfielder David Alegre in the 24th minute. Spain took the lead seven minutes later when Sergi Enrique beat India skipper and goalkeeper Bharat Chetri with a penalty stroke that was awarded because the ball had struck SK Uthappa’s foot during a penalty corner. India was in the arrears for just two minutes as Gurwinder Singh Chandi’s reverse flick off a rebound from Cortes’ pads found the mark.

Even though India made a number of circle penetrations, it was Spain that took the lead again in the 59th minute through a field goal by Tubau that capped some good work by Santi Frexia on a counter-attack. Three minutes later, Uthappa scored a field goal to help India draw abreast of the home team that enjoyed the support of a goodly crowd. India and Spain will play the second Test Saturday evening. 

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