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Pro League: Spain surprise Australia with 4-2 victory Sport-rated




Spain beat Kookaburras in the FIH Pro League

It was a case of complete ‘Marcs’ as a brace from Marc Reyne and a late goal from Marc Miralles secured Spain a 4-2 defeat over the Kookaburras in their FIH Pro League match in Hobart.

On a night that saw Cairns local Jayden Atkinson become the 437th player to represent the Kookaburras, it didn’t go for the hosts despite the best efforts of goalkeeper Johan Durst and fellow defenders Jake Harvie and Jeremy Hayward.

An early shot at Blake Govers’ ax showed promising early signs, but it was Spain who took the lead on 11 minutes, converting with their fourth penalty corner from a breakdown that landed with Reyne at the far post.

The quarter ended with Lachlan Sharp earning a set piece opportunity for Hayward before Jack Welch shot over the top with his reverse stick.

After failing to convert another set piece early in the second period, Spain got into the driver’s seat as Reyne scored his second straight into the mouth of the goal.

The goal rocketed the Kookaburras into action and hometown hero Josh Beltz opened up the Spanish defense with a run and an assist for Govers to tap in on the 21st minute to make it 2-1.

But just as the Kookaburras had returned to contention, Spain re-established their two-goal cushion when José Basterra fired backhanded after Durst had brilliantly saved from Bruno Font.

The Kookaburras attempted to review the ruling believing the shot was taken from the back of Basterra’s stick, but the video referee was unable to provide definitive advice and the goal stood.

Craig Marais overturned the deficit early in the third quarter, scoring his first international goal in just his seventh appearance to set up a thrilling final stanza.

With Harvie and Durst continuing their brilliance at the back, the Kookaburras enjoyed long periods of possession and pushed forward looking for penetration.

But a late yellow card for Sharp put their hopes of a comeback away, with Miralles putting the icing on Spain’s cake with a late penalty corner, seconds after Durst retired as Australia were chasing a result.

Although disappointed by the end result, Atkinson said it was exciting to race for the Kookaburras for the first time.

“It was everything I dreamed of. The pace and intensity were what I expected and a bit more…unfortunately we didn’t get the result that night, but hopefully we can use the rest of the day to see how we can improve and beat Argentina on Friday.”

“We had a lot of chances in our attacking aid… We were holding the ball well but struggling to break through Spain’s flooded defense at the back. We will review the game and look to improve.”

The Kookaburras have a rest day tomorrow before returning on Friday to take on Argentina at 5pm AEDT.

match details
kookaburras 2 (Governors 21′, Marais 42′)
Spain 4 (Reyne 11’/19′, Basterra 25′, Miralles 59′)
@ Tasmanian Hockey Center

kookaburras: 1.Lachlan Sharp, 2.Tom Craig, 4.Jake Harvie, 6.Matthew Dawson, 8.Johan Durst (gk), 9.Jacob Anderson, 10.Josh Beltz, 11.Eddie Ockenden, 13.Blake Govers, 14 .Dylan Martin, 15.Jayden Atkinson, 16.Tim Howard, 17.Aran Zalewski, 19.Craig Marais, 20.Ky Willott, 21.Jack Welch, 32.Jeremy Hayward (c)
Unused substitute: 18. Ben Rennie (gk)