Spain beat India 4-0 in Champions Trophy

Spain beat India 4-0 in their opening match of the Champions Trophy hockey tournament in Lahore.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:04 IST
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India got off to a worst possible start, crashing 0-4 against Spain in their opening match of the Champions Trophy hockey tournament here today. Intense preparations for this elite six-nation event came a cropper as the hapless Indians were pounded by the Olympic semifinalists who scored through Alex Fabregas (42nd), Eduard Arbos (60th), Santiago Freixa (63rd) and Juan Escarre (65th). In fact, India hardly put up a fight in the contest, which saw the European team play cautiously in the first half only to step on the gas after the half time break. Spain opened up after the initial 35 minutes during which they hardly took any risk. Both the teams were on even terms in the first half but as soon as the game resumed after the break, the Spaniards made their intentions clear. India, on the other hand, hardly displayed any aggression and failed to repeat the performance that they had put up against Spain while drawing the recent two-match Test series at home. Spanish onslaught Fabregas drew first blood for the Spaniards by smartly deflecting in a fine cross from the left by Francesco Fabregas. There was no looking back for the Spanish who intensified the pressure under which the Indian defence crackled. To compound India's miseries, Sandeep Singh was temporarily ejected from the ground for pulling down Arbos from behind in the 47th minute as the team plunged into desperation to level the score. But the Indians had no answer to the Spanish onslaught in the last quarter of the game as they conceded three more goals in a span of just four minutes. Arbos scored an opportunistic goal after receiving a free ball inside the circle from the half line before Freixa scored from a penalty stroke to add to the tally three minutes later. Futile effort Stunned by the Spanish blizzard, India tried to fight back but with their opposition defence holding ground, they failed to get a breakthrough. Captain Escarre drove the last nail in India's coffin by scoring a minute later to seal the fate of the match. India, who made it to this prestigious event by default after Australia pulled out on security grounds, play their next match against defending champions the Netherlands tomorrow. (PTI)