Spain overrun Kiwis 3-1, brighten semifinal hopes
Monchengladbach, Sep 11 (UNI) Playing with a clinical precision, European champion Spain overran New Zealand 3-1 to brighten their semifinals chances in the hockey World Cup here today.
This was Spain's second win in four matches and they now have eight points in their kitty. They take on lowly and winless Japan in their last league assignment.
Meanwhile, for the Kiwis, it was their first defeat in four matches and they now have seven points. They take on formidable Australia in their last league match.
Spain dominated the proceedings and should have won by at least a six-goal margin but their forwards fumbled at least three sitters.
For the winners, who led 2-0 at half time, the goal scorers were David Algre (9th) Santago Freixa (18th) and Eduard Tubau (36th) while, Hyden Shaw (40th) reduced the margin for the Kiwis.
In the fast-paced encounter, New Zealand in the initial stages had better of the exchanges and managed to keep Spain's forwards under check. The European champions found it tough to unshackle the Kiwi stanglehold on the midfield for eight minutes but once they cut loose, there was no looking back for them.
Spain surged ahead in the ninth minute when they launched their first incisive attack and Santago Frexia created a fine opening as he put it across unmarked David Algre who made no mistake in sending the ball home (1-0).
The lead went up 2-0 in the 18th minute when Spain earned a penalty corner and this time Freixa flicked home, beating all the defenders all ends up.
After taking the two-goal lead, Spain launched relentless attacks to further consolidate their lead and they got two good chances in the 23rd and 25th minutes. Pol Amot missed a sitter, when he beat onrushing goalkeeper but failed to control the ball and shot wide.
And then Eduard Tubau made a good opening only to see it going abegging.
There was no let up in Spain's pressure and most of their players virtually camped in the Kiwi's half but without further success.
Against the run of play, New Zealand forced a penalty corner but Hayden Shaw failed to convert it.
The third goal hit the Kiwis like a lightning. It came less than 30 minutes of the start of the second session when Eduard Tubau, latching on to a loose ball, cut through the defenders and he sounded the board with a crackling shot from top of the circle (3-0).
Spain's lead should have gone up but once again the forwards made hash of the chance. The Kiwis, on the other hand, after being under pressure for some times countered and forced their third penalty corner in the 40th minute and this time Hayden Shaw was bang on target as his flick flew into the right side of the net (1-3).
After this goal the Kiwis were suddenly in attacking mode but their rivals, sensing danger, crowded the defence and Spain goalkeeper Bernardino Herrera also brought of couple of good saves.
In the last stage of the match, both sides attacked each other's citadel but without any further success.
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