India lose to Spain 1-0

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> It was a bad start for India at the Rabo Trophy Hockey tournament in Holland today.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:53 IST
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It was a bad start for India at the Rabo Trophy Hockey tournament in Holland today. The team lost to strong contenders Spain 1-0 in the second game of the eight-nation tournament, dubbed as the 'Mini World Cup'. The Pool A encounter saw India being kept on the tenterhooks in the first half by a rampaging Spain who scored through Pol Amat in the 25th minute. The Indians put up a much-improved show after the break. Tough nut to crack However, the Champions Trophy holders proved a tough nut to crack and held on to their slender lead to gain three points from the match played at the Wagner Stadium. Spain started the game with a purpose and caught the Indian defence napping on several occasions. One such lapse by the Indians saw the Maurits Hendriks-coached team surge into lead when Amat slammed in a powerful shot from the right of the goal post after Ignace Tirkey lost the ball in the middle. Ignace was not the only culprit as mis-trappings and poor possession marked India's show in the first half. Had it not been for a couple of good saves by goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan, they would have gone down by a bigger margin. However, the former Olympic champions regrouped after the break to dominate the proceedings, but in vain. Forward Deepak Thakur and Gagan Ajit Singh, playing in his first tournament after Olympics last August, built up a good move but were thwarted by an alert Spanish defence. Missed chances Luck also seemed to desert the Indians as they missed several chances to equalize. The most prominent being in the 62nd minute when Rajpal Singh's gallant effort was padded away by the rival goalkeeper and Ignace Tirkey failed to make most of the rebound, his reverse flick going over the bar. India earned their second penalty corner of the match three minutes from the close but made a mess of the chance with skipper Dilip Tirkey shooting way off the mark. India next play against Germany on Tuesday after a rest day tomorrow. (With PTI inputs)

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