|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Spain thrash India 4-0
Biswajyoti Brahma | December 04, 2004 15:09 IST
Last Updated: December 04, 2004 15:41 IST
India's campaign in the 26th men's Champions Trophy hockey tournament got off to a disastrous start with the team being outclassed 0-4 by Spain in its opening match in Lahore on Saturday.
After a dull goalless first half, the match came alive with Spain scoring the goals in quick succession to completely bamboozle the Indians, who had only last week beaten them 3-2 in a friendly to draw a two-match series in India.
Earlier, defending champions The Netherlands beat New Zealand 5-2 in the inaugural match of the tournament.
Nothing seemed to go right for India, who are seeking to make amends for their disappointing performance at the Athens Olympics after making it to this elite event by default, as they were found wanting both in defence and attack against a determined opposition.
Alex Fabregas opened the floodgates for Spain by scoring in the 42nd minute. Eduard Arbos made it 2-0 in the 61st, before Santiago Freixa (63rd) and Juan Escarre (65th) sealed the fate of the subcontinent giants.
To compound India's miseries, Sandeep Singh was temporarily ejected from the ground for pulling down Arbos from behind in the 47th minute as the team plunged into desperation in a bid to level the score.
But the Indians had no answer to the Spanish onslaught in the last quarter of the game as they conceded three more goals in a span of just four minutes.
Arbos scored an opportunistic goal after receiving a free ball inside the circle from the half line before Freixa scored from a penalty stroke to add to the tally three minutes later.
Stunned by the Spanish blizzard, India tried to fight back but with the opposition defence holding firm they failed to get a breakthrough.
Captain Escarre drove the last nail in India's coffin by scoring a minute later to seal the match for the Athens Olympics semi-finalists.
India, who made it to this prestigious event by default after Australia pulled out on security grounds, play their next match against defending champions The Netherlands tomorrow.