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Lowly Spain hands Indian hockey reality check before Rio

Hockey - Blacksticks Women v India, 12 April 2012

Madrid : Indian men’s hockey team got a reality check just before the start of Rio Olympics after they were stunned 2-3 by lower-ranked Spain in the second practise game of the tour, here.

World ranked fifth India, thus, lost the two-match series 0-2 as they lost the opening match against world no. 11 Spain 1-4.

For eight-time Olympic champions, the defeats came at the right time as they give final touches to their preparation before flying directly to Rio from here in search of an Olympic medal that eluded the country for 36 years. India’s last of the eight Olympic gold medals came way back in 1980.

Manpreet Singh (38th minute) and Ramandeep (57th) scored for India, while Josep Romeu (20) provided an early lead to Spain before Pau Quemada (42nd) and Salvador Piera (53) sealed the win for the hosts late last night.

Romeu provided the breakthrough for Spain by converting their second penalty corner five minutes into the second period.

Down by a goal, India came out stronger in the second half and Manpreet drew parity for the visitors with a smart field goal in the 38th minute.

But Spain took the lead again within four minutes with another penalty corner, this time converted by Quemada.

In the final quarter, India started pushing forward in numbers to get the equaliser while Spain played the waiting game.

The home team scored their third goal through Salvador Piera in the 53rd minute before Ramandeep pulled one back for India four minutes later.

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