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FIH PRO LEAGUE- Clinical Spain see off New Zealand challenge

   The Spanish Men have made the most of their goalscoring opportunities as they have gone onto beat the Black Sticks Men 4-1. While Spain dominated large portions of the match, the Kiwis had several opportunities to fight their way back into the contest.
Vantage Black Sticks Captain Blair Tarrant looked ahead to tomorrow match saying “We need to control the tempo of the game more tomorrow. We need to go up the field with more authority if we are going to put the Spanish defence under pressure.”

The World Number 8 Spain came up against a new look Vantage Black Sticks Men’s side at Ngā Puna Wai. These two sides have notoriously been hard to separate on the score sheet. The opening quarter set the tone for what could shape up as another tight affair.

The Kiwis got the first scoring opportunity of the first quarter when a diving/scrambling Steve Edwards got off two testing shots against Spain; unfortunately for New Zealand, they were unable to crack the Spanish goal line.

Spain managed to turn the New Zealand defence over deep in their half, Spain then took their opportunity as they quickly countered against the New Zealand scrambling defence as Roc Oliva flicked the ball over the shoulder of George Enersen.

After being stunned with the opening goal, the New Zealand team started to build their way back into the contest again. The Kiwis began to increase their ball speed around the back of the field as they looked to shift the Spanish screen and open up some channels in the middle of the field.

The silky skills of Spain were on display midway through the second quarter when some outstanding 3D skills along the New Zealand baseline resulted in a cracking forehand shot by Albert Beltran as he doubled the Spanish lead.

Entering the second half the New Zealand side was looking for more attacking intent as they attempted to work their way back into the match. The Kiwis had the first opportunity of the quarter; then they earned themselves a penalty corner. Kane Russell’s drag flick was saved by the kicker of an outstretched Mario Garin in goal.

Kane Russell got his second chance of the match when New Zealand earned their second penalty corner of the contest. This time Russell made no mistake as his slotted his flick into the Spanish net.

Looking to reassert their dominance only moments later the Spanish stormed into the New Zealand half and passed the ball around George Enersen in goal as Albert Beltran scored his second goal of the contest.

Spain looked to have sealed the win midway through the final quarter when the Spanish flicking sensation Pau Quemada placed his drag flick high and wide into the New Zealand goal to give the Spanish what looked like an unassailable 4-1 lead in the contest.

New Zealand was unable to battle their way back into the match as they would go onto to fall to a disciplined Spanish side 4-1.

The Vantage Black Sticks Men will return to the turf tomorrow afternoon when they will get the opportunity to avenge tonight’s loss as they take on Spain for the second time.  
Vantage Black Sticks 1 (Kane Russell 42 min)
Spain 4 (Roc Oliva 12 min, Albert Beltran 23, 42 min, Pau Quemada 42 min)  


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