New Zealand suffered consecutive losses in the FIH Hockey Pro League season as Spain beat them 3-2 in a nail-biting contest. Spain’s forwards didn’t waste a single minute from the start of the game as they earned as many as four penalty corners, with Pau Cunill converting one of them.

It was a busy day for NZL goalkeeper George Enersen as there were consistent attacks on his goal. Spain’s Enrique Gonzalez showed his class as he dodged the Black Sticks’ defenders with ease and made a few dangerous circle penetrations.

Second quarter proved to be a game changer for the Black Sticks as they came back in the game with two goals in two minutes, scored by Hayden Phillips (26’) and Simon Child (27’). It was a tough 12 minutes for the Spanish giants till Marc Reyne made a classical finish inside the circle to level the score in the 39th minute.

The Black Sticks couldn't hold on to the ball possession and the Spanish forwards took advantage of the mistakes. Pere Amat's circle penetration proved to be extremely costly for NZL as he hit the ball straight past George Enersen in the 47th minute of the game.

NZL got a penalty corner in the last minute of the game but failed to convert it with the scoreline ending 3-2 in favour of Spain.

“Our defense was really good. We knew New Zealand is a very good team and we had come prepared. Extremely happy that we got three points in the first match of the season. We were a goal down in the half-time but we came back stronger. We have our next match against India and we would plan accordingly after knowing the mistakes we did in this match” said Spain’s Enrique Gonzalez, who was adjudged the Player of the Match.

NZL Captain Nic Woods was all smiles during the post-match presentation as he felt their defense wasn’t their great as they conceded eight penalty corners: “We repeated the same mistakes that we did last night. There was room for improvement but we again lost ball possession in the second half. We will try to get back in shape before our next match and would come back stronger.”

India plays Spain next in Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar, tomorrow at 07:00 PM IST.

The current FIH Hockey Pro League Standings are available here

FIH Hockey Pro League – 29/10/2022

Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar (IND)

Result: New Zealand - Spain: 2-3

Player of the Match: Enrique Gonzalez (Spain)

Umpires: Rawi Anbananthan (Malaysia), Michiel Otten (Netherlands), Ben Goentgen (Video Umpire - Germany)

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