Black Sticks fight back to draw with Spain, make playoffs

The Black Sticks have come from two goals down with 10 minutes left to draw their final pool match against Spain 2-2 and stay alive at the World Cup in India.

After falling behind ,the Black Sticks needed a rocket of a forehand shot from Hayden Phillips and then a Kane Russell power flick to draw the match and force Spain out of the reckoning.

Spain opened the scoring through Albert Beltran at the top of the circle in the first quarter and then went further ahead with two minutes left in the first half.

Blair Tarrant struggled to clear the ball out of his defensive circle when a Spanish player stole the ball and put it past Richard Joyce to put Spain in the lead 2-0.

Spain kept on attack in the opening minutes of the second half but the Black Sticks defence stayed strong.

Spain started to play more defensively as it sat on its lead and, going into the final quarter, it looked a steep climb for the Black Sticks to get on level terms.

With 10 minutes to go, Phillips received a pass from Hugo Inglis and rocketed a ball past Quico Cortes to get a goal back.

With five minutes left, the Black Sticks pulled their goalkeeper to give themselves a one-man field player advantage.

It proved an inspired decision as the Black Sticks got their first penalty corner of the match.  Russell stepped up and flicked a powerful drag flick low and into the goal to tie the match up.

The Black Sticks are through to the second round of the tournament and will play either Ireland, China or England in the next round on  Tuesday morning.

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