India have not performed well in the ongoing six-nation hockey in Spain, as they lost their second match of the tournament, this time going down to New Zealand 1-0 on Thursday. With this result, India lie in bottom half of the table with one win, against Ireland, while and Sardar Singh's men suffered a huge loss to Germany in the opener as well.
Both teams started on a cautious note, with India enjoying good possession, but there were no goals to show for their efforts in the first quarter. Though SV Sunil looked bright, using his pace down the flanks, he did not get many chances to find the target.
Despite India's decent show in the first quarter, it was New Zealand, who took lead in the 18th minute of the match. Stephen Jenness scored for the Black Sticks.
India received some half-chances to pull the game level, but their forwards were not sharp enough.
New Zealand, who had lost their last two matches in the competition, troubled India from there, and they were asking serious questions to Roelant Oltman's team defence. But, Rupinder Pal Singh and VR Raghuntah were solid at the back.
India, though, could not score in the second half, either, which resulted in their second defeat in the competition.
Such results do not hold India in good stead with just over a month left for the Rio Olympics to start, where they are pitted in a tough group, which includes top opposition like Germany and Netherlands.
There is a serious need for the India team to take their game to the next level in the Olympics if they are to battle it out for a medal. This six-nations competition is the last tournament ahead of the Olympics for India, and they have two more matches left to play -- against Argentina and Spain.