Antwerp, July 2 : Spain were put through their paces by a determined young German side looking to make its mark, but the Red Sticks ground out a 3-1 victory in the end in the Men’s FIH Pro League hockey championship here on Sunday.
Spain, having lost their chances of winning the title after a defeat here earlier this week, faced some hard time against the young Germans but eventually emerged the winner.
With any hopes of a top-three spot in the Pro League long gone, Germany took the opportunity to blood a team of up-and-coming players and the youngsters gave a good account of themselves, creating chances while also being particularly impressive in defence.
Leading the way was 20-year-old keeper Joshua Onyekwue Nnaji who did exceptionally well on debut to deny the Spanish on numerous occasions. He was finally beaten in the fourth quarter.
After Joaquin Menini brought the ball into the circle along the baseline, a goalmouth scramble resulted in Alvaro Iglesias popping it in to take the lead. The Germans responded almost immediately with Leon Lindemann floating the ball through for Florian Sperling to fire in the equaliser with a sensational strike.
A reworked penalty corner routine culminated in Rafael Vilallonga finding the back of the net for Spain with just under three minutes left in the match. With the Red Sticks now taking control of proceedings, another goal followed soon after, Enrique Gonzalez on the end of a lovely team effort to seal the 3-1 victory.
with this win, Spain moved to the fifth spot with 24 points from 14 games, with two more matches remaining for them.