Rio de Janeiro, Aug 8 (IANS) Top-ranked Australia men’s hockey team was stunned by World No.11 Spain 0-1 in a Pool A match of the Olympics here.
The first few minutes of the game on Sunday saw the Spanish defence doing a supreme job of pressing the Australians and keeping them from scoring that elusive first goal.
Spain managed to get an early lead in the sixth minute over the reigning World Champions, with a ball from Alex Casasayas deflecting into the goal via Australian goalkeeper Andrew Charter’s stick.
Late into the first term, and the Australians had a chance at a double penalty corner, but the defensive work from Spain was too good and they couldn’t be converted, even with the powerhouse drag flick of Chris Ciriello.
The Australian’s fought back in the second quarter, with a fantastic bit of play seeing Matt Dawson cutting down the centre of the field, with a pass to Glenn Turner getting the ball get into the circle, but Spain’s defence were pressing, and the ball flew out of the Aussie circle.
Spain continued to mark man-to-man into the third quarter, limiting the possibility of the Australian’s breaking away. The score remained stagnant going into the final fifteen minutes.
The Australian knew they had to fight hard, and in the last five minutes of play they removed Andrew Charter from the Spanish goal, replacing him with a kicking back — captain Mark Knowles — to have 11 players on the pitch.
It wasn’t to be and Australia came away defeated by the Spanish side. The result leaves the Australian men third in the six-team pool, chasing a top-four finish to ensure progression to the quarter-finals.