A flurry of goals unsettled the Indian junior men’s hockey team, which lost 1-3 to Spain in a group stage game at the 8-Nations U-21 Invitational tournament, here Thursday. India went into the game wary of the minor errors that had denied them victory in their previous group encounters. The hosts on the other hand were brimming with confidence thanks to two successive victories. India defended hard in the goalless first quarter and dominated possession in the second. But Spain’s dogged defence cut down on any goal-scoring opportunities. The teams went into halftime locked in a goalless stalemate.
In a lively third quarter, both teams came out attacking from the word go. It was India who struck first, Pratap Lakra converting a penalty corner in the first minute. Spain hit back soon though, in a four-minute period, where they hit back with three quick goals. Ignacio Cobos struck their first, in the 35th minute with a PC conversion. Cesar Cusier (37′) and Gonzalo Quijano (39′) scored two in quick succession to give them a 3-1 lead.
To compound to India’s troubles, Mandeep Mor picked up a yellow card in the 40th minute, leaving them a man down for the final part of the quarter. The team defended strongly ensuring that they do not concede more goals. India play Austria in a 5-8 classification encounter on Saturday.