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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Torrential rain notwithstanding, a dominant Spain thumped minnows Malaysia 4-1 in the seventh\eighth place match of the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday.

With this emphatic victory, Spain finished seventh in the mega event. Malaysia had to be satisfied with the eighth place finish.

While Pau Cunill (49th, 58th minutes) scored a brace for the winning team, Eduard De Ignacio-Simo (7th minute) and Pepe Cunill (55th minute) found the target once each.

Malaysia skipper Akhimullah Anuar got one back for them in the fourth minute.

The match started late due to heavy outfield because of torrential rain. However, the match started after 45 minutes due to excellent drainage facility and hard work of the volunteers on the ground.

It was Anuar who opened the account for Malaysia by starting aggressively. However, they lost momentum thereafter and committed many mistakes. Spain equalised through Eduard in the seventh minute. The first quarter ended in a 1-1 draw.

The second quarter was barren due to a slow outfield because of continuous rain. Spain doubled their lead again at the start of the third quarter in the 49th minute through Pau. He converted a penalty corner brilliantly to put his team on top again.

Spain continued putting pressure on Malaysia players and created a number of penalty corner opportunities. They duly converted two of those chances into scoring opportunities to seal the fate of the lop-sided match.

Belgium will lock horns with Netherlands for the fifth/sixth place match in the next game today.

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