Aussies sail past Spain; SA shock Pak

Aussies sail past Spain; SA shock Pak

South African players celebrate after scoring a goal against Pakistan as Pakistani player Shakeel Abbasi (left) watches during the World Cup hockey match in New Delhi on Saturday. AP

Like Doerner and Glenn Turner scored the goals for Australia, clearly the better team on the day, even though the scoreline doesn’t really reflect their control over the game. The defeat has pushed Spain virtually out of contention for a semifinal spot from Pool B.

The Spanish defensive ways and a couple of missed opportunities prevented the Aussies from winning by a bigger margin. Still, having beaten South Africa by a massive 12-0 margin, they are sitting pretty on that count as well.

“We are really up there now,” said Jamie Dwyer, Australia’s captain for the day. “We are playing at a pace which the other teams will find difficult to match.”

Guided by assistant coach Graham Reid – chief coach Ric Charlesworth decided to view the game from the stands – the Aussies were aggressive as ever. But Spain, marshalled by Rodrigo Garza, kept them at bay till the 20th minute. Ironically, it was a stick-check on Edward Ockenden by Garza that led to Spain’s downfall first, as Doerner blasted home the resultant penalty corner.

Spain, relying more on counter-attacks, forced a clutch of penalty corners either side of half-time but they were denied every time, with the Aussie defenders on the line doing an excellent job.

As the game wore on, the Aussies found more space to work with and uncorked a terrific passing sequence to raise their second goal in the 60th minute. Desmond Abbot started it, putting Matthew Butturini in possession. Butturini rolled it to Robert Hammond close to the backline on the left and his cross was guided home by Turner.

“This was a very important match for us to win,” said Aussie midfielder Mark Knowles. “After the defeat in the first match, we were determined to win every match from then on. The goals we scored against South Africa work like an extra point.”

The Aussies have nine points with a game to play while Spain, having suffered their second defeat, are on six points. Pakistan suffered a battering against South Africa after a promising start. Rehan Butt set up and scored Pakistan’s first goal in the fifth minute, but they failed to build on it and were reduced to mere spectators as South Africa ran riot in the second session.

Gareth Carr netted the equaliser off a penalty corner in the 39th minute and in a stunning turnaround, they scored three more goals through Ian Haley (42nd), Taine Paton (46th) and Marvin Harper (55th) for their first victory.

Pakistan scored twice late in the game – Muhammad Imran (68th) and Waseem Ahmed (70th) being on target -- but by then, the result was a foregone conclusion. The Pakistanis (three points) will play Australia in their last pool match on Monday.

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