The Kookaburras have secured hard-fought a 2-1 win over Spain at the FIH Pro League in Sydney on Saturday afternoon.
Led by in-form Daniel Beale who scored the winning goal early in the fourth term and New
South Wales talent Lachi Sharp who scored the opening goal of the match, the Australians impressed in front of a strong Sydney crowd.
Goalkeeper Tyler Lovell returned to the side for his first match of the FIH Pro League following the birth of his first child and was exceptional all day, a number of saves late in the game helped to lock in the Kookaburras win.
Co-captain Aran Zalewski was named Player of the Match after an assured display, where the Kookaburras held on in the end.
Pau Quemada was Spain’s only goal scorer, finding a gap off the back post in the 26th minute of the match.
The win, Australia’s third for the season, puts the Kookaburras in a strong position heading into important matches against Argentina and New Zealand on the 16 and 17 March in Sydney.
Argentina has just one win for the FIH Pro League and New Zealand are yet to earn a victory but both sides are highly ranked and will be strong opponents for Australia.
Australia pressed the attack early resulting in a number of circle entries from veteran Matthew Swann.
The kookaburras first chance of the match came through Jacob Anderson in the fifth minute of the match. Off the back of an explosive run through the midfield, Tom Craig found Anderson on an open angle in front of goals but the ball was juggled out of bounds.
Sharp opened the scoring for Australia in the 22nd minute of the match. A deflected shot from Jack Welch found Sharp in front of an open goal and the local talent made no mistake, finding the back of the net with a deadly strike.
Spain didn’t go down without a fight, breaking through the Aussie defence in the 26th minute with a goal to Quemada. A Spanish attack through Marc Bolto forced Australian goalkeeper Lovell out of the goals and Quemada capitalised with a deflection from the back post.
Lovell showed why he’s been missed by the Australians, diving on a dangerous ground ball just moments before blocking a seemingly guaranteed goal that was fired above his head in the 38th minute.
Beale sealed the win for Australia in the 47th minute, nailing a powerful shot on the move off an assistfrom Dylan Wotherspoon.
Australia 2 (Sharp 22′, Beale 47′)
Spain 1 (Quemada 26′)