Anupa Barla produced a late goal as the Indian women’s team salvaged a 1-1 draw against hosts Spain in the second game of the five-match series at the Consejo Superior de Deportes Hockey Stadium in Madrid.
Outclassed 0-3 in the opening game, India recovered well to produce a gritty show as they made a comeback in the last two quarters after Spain dominated the match in the first two quarters. It was Spain’s Berta Bonastre (14th) who opened the scoring but Anupa cancelled out her goal in the 54th minute which meant that the match ended in a well-fought draw.
The opening quarter saw both the teams vie for possession in midfield and creating a few chances. It was the hosts who managed to take the lead in the 14th minute as their 26-year-old forward Bonastre found herself in space and scored in her second consecutive match to put the pressure on the visitors.
World No. 10 India started the second quarter well and had a couple of chances, but could not manage to beat the Spanish goalkeeper Maria Ruiz. The Indian midfield made sure that they won back possession quickly to put pressure on the hosts, but the hosts kept up a resolute defensive structure to take their 1-0 lead into half-time.
India started to get into rhythm in the third quarter with the defence keeping out Spain’s efforts and converting the defence into attack quickly. A strong third quarter performance from the Indian team saw them knocking on the hosts’ door, with skipper Rani coming close to finding the equaliser in the latter minutes of the quarter.
India’s chief coach Sjoerd Marijne replaced goalkeeper Savita with Swati at the start of the fourth quarter. The visitors continued playing some attacking hockey in the last quarter as well and put constant pressure on the hosts, which saw the visitors earn an equaliser in the 54th minute when Anupa Barla’s deflected shot went past Spanish goalkeeper Maria Ruiz into the back of the net.
The Indian team could have scored a late winner as they were high on confidence in the closing stages of the match. However, Maria Ruiz came to the World No. 11 team’s rescue to keep the scores levelled at 1-1. The two teams will play the third of their five matches on Friday.