Great Britain Men drew 1-1 with Spain in their first home FIH Pro League match, but lost out in the subsequent shootout as Spain maintained their one hundred per cent shootout record after trailing 2-0.
In normal time, Spain stunned the hosts, Pau Quemada’s open play defection giving the visitors the lead after just 36 seconds.
Sam Ward levelled in the 18th minute from Great Britain’s first penalty corner and Spain had goalkeeper Quico Cortes to thank as Ward and Surbiton’s Luke Taylor were both denied as Great Britain forced a total of seven penalty corners in the match.
Great Britain thought they had won the match with just seventeen seconds remaining when Ward converted the seventh award, but an umpires’ video referral (Spain lost their right to a referral challenging the award) resulted in the goal being ruled out after it was judged that the ball had not left the circle.
Great Britain went first in the shootout, Phil Roper easily finding the backboard from their first attempt. Alvaro Iglesias had his shot saved by GB goalkeeper, George Pinner, on his 50th GB appearance. Cortes saved from Harry Martin, but Marc Serrahima not only had his shot saved by Pinner, but blasted the rebound over the crossbar to keep the score at 1-0 to Great Britain.
Jack Waller doubled Great Britain’s advantage from his side’s third attempt and when Enrique Gonzalez shot past the left post, Spain’s unblemished shootout record was in severe danger.
Cortes made what turned out to be a key double save from Surbiton’s Zach Wallace before Sergi Enrique finally scored for Spain from the right of the circle to start their comeback.
Surbiton’s Alan Forsyth eluded Cortes but sliced his shot wide of the right post, before there was more video referral drama. Pinner was judged to have made an unintentional foul to deny Josep Romeu after the referral and there was even more drama when in the retake, Romeu contrived to hit the left post before smashing the rebound high into the goal netting to force sudden death.
In sudden death the order was swapped with Spain going first. Again a retake was necessary (without the need for a video referral) before Enrique put Spain ahead for the first time in the shootout. Roper could only shoot wide of the left post to give Spain their fifth shootout win out of five and the bonus point.
More information about the Men’s FIH Pro League can be found at the FIH website