Champions Trophy hockey: Australia beat Spain in finalDecember 11th, 2011 - 5:28 pm ICT by IANS
Auckland, Dec 11 (IANS) Australia made history by becoming the first team to win four FIH Champions Trophy hockey tournaments in succession following a 1-0 win over Spain in the final here Sunday.
Eddie Ockenden was in the right place at the right time to force home a penalty corner rebound eleven minutes from the end of the game, giving the mighty Kookaburras a stunning success.
The match was an incredibly close contest, with both sides enjoying periods of domination. Spain arguably had the better of the first half and could easily have been ahead when Roc Oliva and David Alegre saw their efforts miss the target. Newly-crowned FIH Young Player of the Year Matthew Swann also produced an outstanding tackle on Spain’s Edi Tubau as the striker was about to shoot in the dying moments of the first half.
Tempers began to flair at the start of the second half and umpire Hamish Jamson informed team captains Jamie Dwyer and Santi Freixa that their sides need to cool it. As the match progressed, the world champions began to assert their authority and went close to opening the scoring through Timothy Deavin and Jason Wilson, but the outstanding Spanish defence held firm.
In the 59th minute, Australia scored the crucial goal from a penalty corner, with Eddie Ockenden following up to volley home moments after Spain keeper Francisco Cortes saved Luke Doerner’s flicked effort from the top. Although the Spanish rallied hard towards the end, the all-conquering Australians closed the game out to add yet another trophy to their ever growing collection.
“It was a typical final,” Australia coach Ric Charlesworth was quoted as saying in the official website.
“It was very tough. We played much better than our first game against Spain, which was good. The one or two chances that Spain had came from out errors so if we can iron them out we will be a very tough team to beat.”
Five time FIH Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer was also pleased with the performance of his team. “I am very proud to win it again. Spain came here with a point to prove after the disappointment of the Euros and did just that so we are very happy to win.”
Final standings: Gold: Australia, Silver: Spain, Bronze: The Netherlands.
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