Hockey: Spain one up in five-test series with SA

2012-01-18 00:00

SPAIN took a 1-0 lead in the five-Test Investec International Series against the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team when they won the second Test 3-2 at Randburg Hockey Stadium Tuesday night. Sunday’s first Test ended 1-1.

SA opened the scoring after world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee’s 227th goal in 230 Test matches, but Spain hit back through Barbara Malda and Gloria Comerma for a 2-1 half-time lead. After the changeover Rocio Ybarra extended Spain’s lead before Dirkie Chamberlain pulled one back seconds from the end.

Play swung to and fro in the first 20 minutes with Spain more threatening. However, the match exploded in the 22nd minute when Shelley Russell made a superb run down the left channel, broke into Spain’s circle and laid off an ideal pass for a perfectly positioned Coetzee and the world record goalscorer buried the ball into the backboard.

Yet all was undone when Comerma equalised three minutes later with a well-taken yet ultimately soft goal.

A Marescia/Coetzee combination in the strike zone had the crowd clamouring for more, but with seconds to half-time Spain won a turnover deep in the SA half and Malda made the most of it for the Spaniards to go into half-time with a 2-1 lead.

SA began stringing some nice moves together after the break and Chamberlain shot over the horizontal bar. Spanish captain Julia Menendez hit a perfectly weighted through-ball to Raquel Huertas and the upshot was a penalty corner that Ybarra had oodles of time to convert (3-1).

With 12 minutes left Spain’s superiority in the strike zone was shown when Huertas had acres of space to rip a shot that SA keeper Mariette Rix stick-saved superbly high to her right.

Not to be outdone, Spanish number one Maria Lopez de Eguilaz stick-saved low to her right from Sulette Damons soon after. Then Olalla Pineiro sailed untouched in to the strike zone and Rix saved once again.

SA got a consolation goal when Coetzee made something out of an untidy penalty corner and her shot was delicately deflected in by Chamberlain for the 3-2 final scoreline.

The SA senior invitation team beat a SA junior invitation team 1-0 in the curtain-raiser.

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