Investec World League Pool B: Spain 2-2 South Africa.

Spain and South Africa are both still searching for their first wins in this competition as the two sides played out a 2-2 draw in the last game of the day here in London. Despite the awful conditions the sparse crowd were treated to an entertaining game.

South Africa asserted themselves well in the early going as Marsha Cox crashed the ball into the outside of the post after cutting in from the left. 2 minutes later, Shelley Russell did well to get round the back, cutting the ball back to Dirkie Chamberlain but the No.12 could not find the target and her effort went wide. South Africa’s pace and willingness to commit players forward was causing Spain some problems, but their defence held firm.

South Africa continued to threaten and Sulette Damons crossed to the far post where Coetzee somehow touched the ball wide with the goal at her mercy.

For all South Africa’s pressure they still had nothing to show for their efforts. On 31 minutes they were to rue their lack of finesse in front of goal as Spain took the lead. Carlotta Petchame drove into the D and dinked the ball over the on-rushing goalkeeper to make it 1-0.

Immediately after half time Spain thought they had taken the lead but Maria Romagosa’s goal was ruled out for an earlier infringement in the build up.

Coetzee was still threatening to equalise and was kept out well by Maria Lopez. On 50 minutes Tarryn Bright did beat Lopez. A low penalty corner strike found the far corner to make it 1-1. Kelly Madsen then stung the gloves of Lopez from the top of the D and Coetzee once again extended the goalkeeper with a fierce low shot which Lopez did well to keep out.

On 62 minutes South Africa were awarded a penalty stroke after a Spanish foot on the line. Coetzee stepped up and scored, despite a valiant effort from Lopez who got a good glove to the ball but could not keep it out.

A minute later, Spain restored parity. A swift break involving three players saw them make their way into the D, goalkeeper Sanani Mangisa cleared the ball but only succeded in picking out Romagosa who needed no second invitation and drilled an unstoppable shot past the goalkeeper.

Dirkie Chamberlain brought another save out of Lopez, but it was Spain who ended in the ascendancy, forcing a series of penalty corners. Lola Riera went closest but her high flick was brilliantly picked off the line Lenise Marais. Spain were awarded a penalty corner on the stroke of time, but the ball was mis-trapped and the chance was gone.

The draw leaves both sides adrift at the bottom of the pool on one point each. They will both need positive results in their final games on Tuesday in order to avoid a quarter final with Argentina.

About thetopofthed

Columnist for The Hockey Paper and the man behind The Top of the D. Writer, podcaster, goalkeeper and BBC Sport man. Used to work for Great Britain Hockey and have covered the sport at every major tournament.
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