Champions Trophy: Aus beat Spain 4-2

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src=' ' class='caption'> Seven-time champions Australia defeated Spain 4-2 and registered their second straight victory in the Sahara Champions Trophy Hockey tournament.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:48 IST
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Seven-time champions Australia defeated Spain 4-2 and registered their second straight victory in the Sahara Champions Trophy Hockey tournament on Sunday. The Olympic Champions were trailing 1-2 at half time after a spirited effort by the Spaniards but managed to improve their game in the second half to keep intact their aim of ending the five-year title drought. Spain, who won their maiden title last year in Lahore, did well to wipe out a fifth minute goal deficit scored by Travis Brooks with man-of-the-match Santi Frexia scoring twice. But the experienced Australians, who beat Germany 4-1 in their opening tie yesterday, bounced back with Captain Brent Livermore converting a penalty stroke in the 45th minute. Five minutes later, Luke Doerner put the team in the lead once again while McCann increased the margin in the 66th minute through a field goal. After Spain's third minute penalty corner went in vain, Australia needed just two minutes to go in to the lead. The Aussies played to a pattern of crowding in the midfield and then spreading their wings to the sides with their star attacker, Jamie Dwyer classic in his inimitable style of intercepting the ball from Ramon Alegre and then opening out in the middle. One such move resulted in goal. First Dwyer tested Spain goalkeeper Francisco Cortes, who offered his pads. Twice Dwyer and Michael McCann harried Cortes and the third rebound was pushed in by Travis Brooks. Strong comeback However, the Aussies came back strongly after the break when play resumed under a steady drizzle. Increasing the tempo after Andrew Smith's shot off a penalty corner was saved by Cortes, the Australians caught the Spain defence off guard with a sudden move in the 44th minute. Michael McCann, who was menacingly moving inside the circle, was obstructed by Xavier Ribas and Umpire David Leiper signalled a penalty stroke. Australian captain Brent Livermore's scoop sailed into the net. Bolstered by the goal, the Australlians made another good move to force a penalty corner five minutes later and Luke Doerner's shot beat the Spain goalkeeper to once again take the lead. Just as Spain were making some last ditch effort to find an equaliser, McCann came up with a solo effort, capitalising on a defence lapse and beat Coerts. The defending champions made a couple of goal-bound moves in the dying minutes but Australian custodian Stephen Mowlam held his nerves. (PTI)