Sun, Dec 04, 2011 - Page 19 News List

Australia beat Spain at field hockey tournament

AP, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Captain Jamie Dwyer scored twice as defending champions Australia rallied to beat Spain 3-2 in their opening match at the Champions Trophy field hockey tournament yesterday.

Australia, the top seeds and 11-time winners, came back from 2-1 down to beat Spain in their opening match in Pool A at the eight-team tournament.

Dwyer’s two goals lifted him among a group of six Australians who have scored at least 20 goals in Champions Trophy matches and took him past current Australia coach Ric Charlesworth, who scored 18 career goals at the tournament.

In other matches yesterday, Olympic champions Germany beat New Zealand 2-1, Britain defeated Pakistan 2-1 and the Netherlands beat South Korea 2-0.

Yesterday’s win was Australia’s fourth in succession over Spain and improved their record against them at Champions Trophy tournaments to 15-3 with five draws. Australia have won 16 of 17 Champions Trophy matches in which Dwyer has scored.

Australia took only 10 seconds to force the first penalty corner of the match, but it wasn’t until the 10th minute that Dwyer gave his team their lead, slotting home from close range.

Spain then hit back with two goals within three minutes to take a 2-1 lead into halftime. Gabriel Dabanch scored the equalizer from a tight angle before Edi Tubau burst into the circle and crashed a fierce strike into the bottom left corner of the net.

Dwyer pulled Australia level early in the second half and, after Spain had gone close, Des Abbott scored to give Australia the lead with six minutes remaining.

Simon Mantell volleyed home a penalty corner with five minutes left to give Britain a 2-1 win over Pakistan and to stay level on points with Australia in Pool A. Pakistan took a 1-0 lead to halftime after Muhammad Imran expertly dispatched a penalty corner flick, but Britain drew level when 34-year-old Mark Pearn scored his first Champions Trophy goal in 10 years.

Christopher Wesley’s goal with 10 minutes remaining broke a lengthy 1-1 deadlock to give Germany their opening win over New Zealand.

After hitting the post from an early penalty corner, Thilo Stralkowski put Germany ahead with a goal from a Christoph Menke pass.

Hugo Inglis connected with a pass from Simon Child to score New Zealand’s equalizer and went close to taking a second at the end of the first half, only to be denied by Germany goalkeeper Nico Jacobi.

The deadlock remained until Wesley sneaked ahead of his marker and deflected Jan Philipp Rabente’s pass into the top of the goal with 10 minutes remaining.

Britain face Australia in their second match today, while Pakistan take on Spain. Germany play the Netherlands and New Zealand play South Korea. The gold and bronze-medal matches are scheduled for next Sunday.

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