Murcia (Spain), Feb 2: Dragflicker Gurjit Kaur scored in the first half to put the Indian women's hockey team ahead before World cup silver medallists Ireland fought back to draw 1-1 in the opening friendly match here. After levelling the four-match series with hosts Spain, India put up a determined performance in the first match. The visitors will end their 10-day tour of Spain with the second and final friendly match against Ireland on Sunday.
India got off to a good start as they made a first breakthrough in the fourth minute when they created a PC opportunity. But the chance went amiss with good defending shown by the Irish. In the second quarter though, India made up for the lost opportunity when they were awarded a PC for an infringement by an Irish defender. Gurjit, India's dragflicker, made no mistake in putting the ball past the Irish goalkeeper Emma Buckley in the 18th minute.
India's 1-0 lead put the Irish on the backfoot. While India defended the lead well with a disciplined structure, the Irish pushed for an elusive goal. It was only in the 45th minute when Ireland struck a field goal through Sarah Hawkshaw that levelled the score to 1-1. While the final quarter saw both teams play at par with each other, India remained resolute in their defence. India's goalkeeper Savita made a brilliant attempt to deny Ireland a goal off a PC minutes before the final hooter ending the match in a stalemate.