World Cup Hockey: Odisha’s Amit Rohidas Stars As India Outplay Spain 2-0 In Opener

Rourkela: Odisha star Amit Rohidas played a stellar role in India’s convincing 2-0 win against Spain in their opening Pool D match of the World Cup Hockey 2023 at the Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium here on Friday evening.

Rohidas gave India the lead with a rasping drive following a penalty corner in the 13th minute. It was the 200th World Cup goal for India, who have featured in all 15 editions of the tournament.

Rohidas, the team’s vice-captain, put up a solid show in the backline as well to be deservingly presented the Player of the Match award.

Hardik Singh made it 2-0 after 27 minutes as he sprinted down the wing, cut in to the D and struck the ball which went in off a deflection.

A dominant India enjoyed as much as 75% possession to lead 2-0 at half-time.

Soon after the change of ends, India were awarded a penalty stroke after Akashdeep Singh was stick-checked as he was about to have a crack at goal.

Skipper Harmanpreet Singh, however, failed to convert the stroke.

Forced to the back foot, Spain continued to play second fiddle. On the few occasions they managed to penetrate the Indian territory, custodian Krishan Bahadur Pathak and the defenders stood tall.

India suffered a setback in the third minute of the final quarter when Abhishek was slapped a 10-minute yellow card for what seemed to be a 50-50 tackle.

That left the home team with 10 men for the better part of the last quarter. But Rohidas & Co. ensured that Spain’s forays were efficiently tackled.

The men in blue will face England – who routed World Cup debutants Wales 5-0 earlier in the evening – in their second match at the same venue.

Harmanpreet’s men will then move to Bhubaneswar for their final league fixture against Wales on January 19.

The group topper will advance directly to the quarterfinal, while the Nos 2 and 3 will feature in the Crossovers, which is a virtual pre-quarterfinal.

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