Bhubaneswar: New Zealand pulled up a remarkable comeback to hold Spain to a 2-2 draw in the ongoing Men’s Hockey World Cup here at Kalinga Stadium on Thursday.
In the first quarter, New Zealand began the proceedings with a shot from Stephen Jenness at the far post, but the shot flew safely over the goalpost. In the ninth minute of the match, Albert Beltran opened the score-line for Spain as Pau Quemada sent the ball from the middle. In spite of some good attacks, New Zealand failed to find a reply.
In the 25th minute of the match, Spain gifted a penalty corner due to an error on the left side.
However, New Zealand could not trap the ball properly and wasted their golden chance. Two minutes later, a defensive lapse by New Zealand on the right side gave Ricardo Santana to play on Alvaro Iglesias, who made no mistake and doubled the lead in favour of Spain by the half-time.
In the 41st minute, Spain’s Enrique Gonzalez tried to reach the penalty area from the right side, but New Zealand’s Marcus Child came up with a strong tackle to retain the ball from the Spaniard before ending the third quarter.
New Zealand’s Hayden Phillips received a pass from Hugo Inglis on the left side in the 50th minute.
He took his time and smashed the ball into the roof of the net to open New Zealand’s score-line.
Now, as the Blair Tarrant-led side started their hunt for an equaliser, New Zealand won a penalty corner with the help of Kane Russell in the 56th minute of the match. The attackers took the resultant dragflick and placed it perfectly into the bottom right side of the goal to beat Spain’s goalkeeper Quico Cortes and levelled the match at a 2-2 draw.
With the current standings, the Spanish side is left with the hope that Argentina beat France in their encounter later on Thursday as it would help them to stay alive in the ongoing prestigious tournament, despite having two points from three matches.