Opening game of Blue Pitch, similar to London Olympics, Santander, offered an exciting battle between home side Spain and Eight times Olympics Gold Medalists India which ended in 3-3 draw. Tushar Khandkar, Gurwinder Singh Chandi and SK Utthappa scored for India.
Speedy and skillful Indian team controlled the game and took the lead through Tushar Khandkar’s deflection on SV Sunil’s cross in 11th minute of the match but, but Edi Tubau drew the parity on a pass from David Alegre in 24th minute and Sergi Enrique made it 2-1 by converting a penalty stroke in favor of Spanish side to the much delight house full stands. However, World Number 10 side India’s forward Gurvinder Singh Chandi sent the ball home on a rebound from Spanish Goalie Cortes’s pad on a penalty corner just before the end of the first half to make it 2-2 and went in lemon break with scores level.
In the second half Spain not only managed to bear the pressure of Indian offense but also took lead 3-2 in 60th minute, when Edi Tubau finished a good move by Santi Frexia. India continued to attack to find the equalizer. Continuing on their recent changed habit from conceding to scoring in last few minute of the game, India scored the equalizer through SK Uthappa to draw the match against World Number 5 side Spain.
Spanish and Indian sides will play again in Santander on Saturday (7 July at 2115-local time and 8 July at 0045 AM Indian Time).
Spain 3-3 India
Spain Scorers: Edi Tubau (2) and Sergi Enrique
India Scorers: Tushar Khandekar, Gurwinder Singh Chandi and SK Utthappa
Squads for the match:
Spain: Quico Cortes, Santi Freixa, Sergi Enrique, Miki Delàs. Alex Fabregas, Pol Amat, Edi Tubau, Roc Oliva, David Alegre, Litus Ballbé, Juan Fernandez, Xavi Lleonart, Marc Salles, Manel Terrace, David Alegre and Pau Quemada.
India: Bharat Chetri, Ignacee Tirkey, Sandeep Singh, Kothajit Singh, Manpreet Singh, Sardar Singh, Dharamvir Singh, Sarvanjit Singh, VR Raghunath, Gurbaj Singh, Tushar Singh, SK Uthappa, Danish Mujtaba, Shivendra Singh and SV Sunil Singh Gurwinder.
With inputs from www.rfeh.com.