Bhubaneswar: Defending champions Australia rode on two goals in a minute Blake Govers (50th and 51st minutes) to defeat Spain 4-1 and advance to the semifinals of the Men’s Hockey World League Finals (HWLF) here at the Kalinga Stadium, Wednesday. The other goals were scored by Jeremy Hayward (28th) and Aaron Kleinschmidt (48th). Spain, incidentally had opened the scoring through Marc Garcia (20th).
The Spanish were a bit off colour in the first quarter unlike the other matches as the Australians looked more dominating with better ball possession and control.
The Australians however had a chance to take the lead in the second minute itself when the combo of Jake Whetton and Daniel Beale bemused the Spanish defence but failed to get past Quico Cortes under the Spanish bar. They had another chance in the next minute but a resolute Spanish defence held firm to deny them.
The deadlock was finally broken as Spain went ahead through a brilliant tap-in by Garcia off a prompt from Sergi Enrique inside the ‘D’. It could have been 2-0 for Spain four minutes later had Alejandro de Frutos’s shot not been saved by a diving Tristan Claymons under the Aussie bar.
However, the Kangaroos equalised two minutes in the first half with Hayward converting from their first penalty corner.
The Spaniards came back strongly in the second half and were in attacking mood right from the start. They had a chance in the 38th minute with Marc Salles provided the perfect pass to Diego Arana who only had the opposition goalie to beat. But he messed up the chance, giving Clemons ample time to clear the ball out.
However it was an exciting last quarter as the Australians pumped in three more goals in a span of three minutes. Kleinschmidt made it 2-1 when he tapped in a rebound after a Cortes had blocked Hayward’s penalty corner effort.
Govers then found the mark with two successive penalty to seal up an emphatic win for the men from Down Under. Spain made desperate efforts to find an opening in the last few minutes, but failed to do so.