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Spain rout Germany for bronze
December 18, 2005 22:01 IST
Spain exhibited all-round hockey to outplay a youthful Germany 5-2 and salvage some pride by claiming the bronze medal in the 27th Sahara Champions Trophy in Chennai on Sunday night.
Spain, the title winners in Lahore last year, rode on a superb attacking game and a brace each by star striker Santi Frexia and veteran Pablo Amat to deny Germany the medal.
For Spain, Frexia (13th, 69th minutes), Alex Fabregas (22nd) and Pablo Amat (41st and 57th) sounded the board while Moritz Furste (28th) and Matthias Witthaus (59th) scored for Germany.
This is the first time Germany has failed in seven appearances in the bronze medal play-off.
Frexia is all set to emerge as the top scorer of the edition after taking his tally to seven goals.
This was Spain's second bronze medal in 15 appearances in the championship. They had won the bronze, their only other medal finish, way back in 1997 at Adelaide.
Spain, who finished the league phase with three wins, including a 3-2 result against Germany, and two losses, dominated the proceedings and were able to take the ball from their own area to Germany's circle in no time with Frexia and Amat combining well.
Though the experimental German team at times tried to crowd in the midfield the tactics failed to pay off.
Initially, for about 10 minutes the Germans had the ball more and once Matthias Witthaus even slammed the ball into the net but the goal was disallowed for raising the ball.
The Germans, who hold the record for most number of title triumphs -- eight, mounted an all out charge in the second half but were guilty of allowing the Spanish to counterattack effectively, putting goalkeeper Christian Schulte under a lot of pressure.
Frexia put Spain in the lead in the 13th minute and Alex Fabregas increased it in the 22nd minute through another field goal.
Moritz Furste of Germany narrowed the margin when his shot beat a diving goalkeeper Bernardino Herrera six minutes later.
But Spain kept up the momentum and held on to their lead at half-time. After the break, the Germans showed urgency to score and forced a series of penalty-corners but failed to convert.
However, it was Spain who tasted success first in the second half when Amat, who has over 300 caps, showed his class scoring two goals (41st and 57th) to increase the lead to 4-1 before Witthaus sounded the board in the 59th minute, giving some hopes of a come back.
But even as Germany was trying to penetrate the Spanish defence, Frexia intercepted a ball and made another solo run and brought off a superb goal.
Frexia kept moving and scooped the ball gently over German keeper Schulte, who fell down while rushing out.