Spain rally to outsmart South Africa 4-2 (Lead)February 28th, 2010 - 9:41 pm ICT by IANS
By Avishek Roy
New Delhi, Feb 28 (IANS) Spain defeated South Africa 4-2 in an enthralling World Cup Hockey opener at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here Sunday.
Both teams were locked 2-2 in the first half but Spain showed their class after the breather, scoring two more goals for their first win in the pool B match.
South Africa, taking advantage of a defense lapse, opened the scoring with Julian Hykes (16th minute). Spain struck through Roc Oliva (19th) and Miquel Delas (20th). Ian Haley (30th) drew level for South Africa.
Rodrigo Garza (45th) gave Spain the lead while Pau Quemada (61st) scored through a penalty corner.
The outcome notwithstanding, it was a free flowing opener that had its moments of brilliance. Spain were outstanding with speed and counter-attack.
South Africa defended well in the first half and surprised Spain with sudden bursts.
South Africa got the first penalty corner in the 12th minute of the match. But Justin Reid-Ross’s strike was palmed out by Spainish goalkeeper Francisco Cortes.
Spain started making forays right from the beginning, with their defence line stretching themselves up to the midfield.
South Africa made full use of it when Haley, taking advantage of Xavier Ribas’s sloppy stickwork in the midfield, got the ball and ran through with no defenders to stop him. He passed the ball to Hykes to his right who put it across.
Stung by the reverse, Spain stepped up the attack with skipper Pol Amat leading the charge and setting up the ball for the forwards. He dribbled past defenders to enter the top of the circle, making room for himself to strike a reverse flick. Oliva gave the finishing touch to equalise.
Two minutes later, Spain increased the lead, taking from a goalmouth melee with Delas slipping in. South Africa struck the equaliser through Haley.
In the second half, Spain made good use of the flanks to charge down the South Africans and again put their defence under pressure.
Garza sneaked past the goalkeeper in a goal mouth scramble. South Africa went for a video referral, their second in the match, but it was turned down.
Penalty corner expert Quemada converted the second short corner to consolidate Spain’s lead.
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Tags: amat, defence line, dhyan chand, equaliser, finishing touch, flanks, forays, forwards, francisco cortes, goalkeeper, haley, hykes, melee, midfield, moments of brilliance, skipper, south africans, sudden bursts, world cup hockey, xavier ribas