Barcelona: The Indian women’s hockey team produced a dominant performance to comfortably beat hosts Spain 3-0 and win the 100th Anniversary Spanish Hockey Federation – International Tournament here on Sunday.
Vandana Katariya (22nd minute), Monika (48th) and Udita (58th) were the goal scorers as India remained unbeaten in the tournament.
Riding on the success of Saturday’s match against England, where Lalremsiami’s hattrick helped them win 3-0, table toppers India got off to strong start in the first quarter.
The Indians started cautiously and maintained a disciplined structure with short, accurate passes that allowed them to create space in the circle. But goals eluded the visitors in the first quarter.
Spain created some fine opportunities in the last five minutes of the first quarter but India captain and goalkeeper Savita kept the opponents at bay by producing some fine saves.
India started the second quarter in a dominant fashion, showing clear intent to take the lead.
They built on a strong attack, with Sushila setting up a fine field goal opportunity in the 22nd minute. She assisted Neha Goyal with a swift pass in the top of the circle, but Neha’s shot bounced off the Spanish goalie Clara Perez’s pads.
Lalremsiami, the star of the match against England, picked up the rebound and smashed it past the goalie and Vandana was perfectly positioned to get a slight touch to push the ball past the goal-line.
The lead gave India the edge, allowing them to make confident forays into the striking circle.
They mounted pressure on Spain by dominating ball possession in the following minutes. India extended the lead in the 48th minute when Monika converted a penalty corner past Maria Ruiz, who had replaced Perez in the under the Spanish bar.
With a 2-0 lead, India defended stoutly. Deep Grace Ekka, Nikki Pradhan and Sushila Chanu kept the Spanish attack in check while the forwards pushed for a third goal.
The opportunity came knocking two minutes from the final hooter when a confident Udita showed patience, coupled with good dribbling skills, to find the back of the net.