Gonzalez powers Spain to narrow win; Austria and Poland both frustrated in Pool C

Posted On 25th August 2017

Men’s Pool C: Spain 1 Ireland 0 (1-0)
Enrique Gonzalez’s third minute goal saw Spain secure their second successive win of the European Championships, putting them in great shape to stay in the top tier.

They raced into a third minute lead when Enrique Gonzalez wriggled out of a tackle from Alvaro Iglesias’s clever pass, allowing him to slap past David Harte.

They had a trio of corners, too, but Ireland went the closer to scoring next with Ben Walker’s baseline cross almost sneaking home while Quico Cortes made a couple of strong corner stops from Shane O’Donoghue.

The second half took a long time to spark into life as both teams kept each other ar arm’s length for the majority. Lee Cole flashed a chance across the face of goal before David Harte did well to boot clear a Spanish corner.

Cortes stepped up again in the closing 10 minutes, holding off smashes on target from Sean Murray and John Jackson. He also saved in the closing minute off the line from Alan Sothern while his corner defence denied a Spanish set piece.

Cortes had also been a key figure in July against Ireland in the World League Semi-Final and he said he is content with his form but also praised his team mates.

“It’s been a good summer for my performance,” he said. “We have trained a lot and sometimes the results have come, sometimes they haven’t.

“In Johannesburg, I said it as well. It’s true I have made some saves but it’s also my defence all the time, especially at corners, so it’s the job from everyone.”

As for the team’s inconsistent overall form, he added: “Holland played really well against us. We were not at the level this tournament asks for and we should have done better against Austria. Everyone is a good team here and these two last games, we found our level and here are our results.”

Spain – Ireland
3’ Enrique Gonzalez 1-0

Umpires: M Eilmer (AUT), A Kearns (AUS)

Austria 1 Poland 1 (1-0)
Austria and Poland shared the spoils in the opening game of the men’s Pool C at the Rabo EuroHockey Championships, goals from Michael Korper and Adrian Krokosz cancelling each other out.

For both teams, it was a disappointing with both looking to build points ahead of their final matches on Sunday in a bid to avoid relegation.

Austrian player of the match Florian Steyrer said: “We couldn’t find our level today. We mis-stopped so many balls and had no control of the game. It was like ping-pong and that is not we are prepared for.”

Poland’s Dominik Kotulski had similar feelings: “We are disappointed; we were really close to winning the game but it was just details and we didn’t score that key goal for 2-1. All the team is disappointed.

It was a well-matched battle with both sides showing a hunger for the contest, knowing a defeat would likely spell the end of their hopes of staying in the European top tier.

Both sides had corner chances in the first half but it was Austria who took the lead when Michael Korper slung home his third goal of the tournament, a heavily deflected drag-flick.

Poland, though, fought back in the second half, creating plenty of openings and they got level when Adrian Krokosz turned sharply in the circle to crash into the goal in the 44th minute.

From there, both goalkeepers made some fine saves with Maciej Pacanowski brilliantly intercepting at the feet of Fabian Unterkircher while Mateusz Szymczyk kept out a Polish corner. Korper came within inches of nicking a winner but both sides had to settle for a share of the spoils.

Steyrer is hopeful his side can take some of the positives from earlier in the tournament.

“There has been some really good moments for us. The 2-2 draw with Spain was really great game but there’s a lot of work to do. Ireland in two days, we have nothing to lose. We will put our heart on the field and do everything we can.”

Krokosz, meanwhile, said his side will keep battling until the end: “The tournament is still ongoing for us so the Spain game is the most important one for us and we are really focused for that one.”

Austria – Poland

30’ Michael Korper 1-0
44’ Adrian Krokosz 1-1

Umpires: S Michielsen (BEL), M Madden (SCO)

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