|August 3rd, 2012|
|17||Pool A||7:00pm||RSA - ESP||2 - 3 (1 - 1)||Final||x 2|
Spain kept their hopes outside hopes of reaching the semi-finals alive as they netted their first win of the campaign, all but condemning South Africa to the minor placings. In a lively clash, South Africa hit the front first through Justin Reid-Ross but Marc Salles, Pau Quemada and Miguel Delas replied to put the game out of reach despite Lloyd Norris-Jones late goal.
The Spanish began the game with just 14 outfield players at their disposal as injuries to Santi Freixa and Pol Amat meant they could only call upon reserve goalkeeper Xavier Trenchs to fill their bench. Sergi Enrique’s suspension curtailed their numbers further.
And things looked to be going further against them when Reid-Ross got the first of three corner goals in the game in the 26th minute. It was heavily deflected as his drag-flick first clipped the sole of an airborne Alex Fabregas’ shoe before bouncing into the ground viciously, eventually going in off Francisco Cortes’ shoulder.
Spain, though, got back on terms five minutes later. Carlos Ballbe won a corner with his run down the right wing, a move only denied by Rassie Pieterse’s excellent stop but the aftermath bounced off a foot. From the resulting set-piece, Quemada pushed for the right post where Marc Salles slid in to ramp the ball past the defender on the post.
Ballbe was again the creative influence for the go-ahead goal, haring down the right wing and laying up for Quemada to scramble over the line. The third goal was similar in making to the first, a corner variation that Miguel Delas slid onto, using the grip of his stick to find the left corner. The goal was awarded after an umpire’s referral.
It looked set to see Spain over the line from what has been a tough start to their campaign but South Africa made them sweat as Ian Haley pounced on a Spanish miscontrol and back-hand the ball to Norris-Jones who coolly finished off. They threw everything forward in the closing stages but found the going frustrating and now have to focus on getting something from games against Pakistan and Argentina if they are to move up in the group. Spain, meanwhile, have Argentina next and then Great Britain in their final four bid.
Andrew CRONJE (RSA), on the result: "Very disappointing. Sure, we came into this having done pretty much everything we could have done from a preparation point of view. First half, we didn't get firing, we didn't move the ball as we wanted to, largely due to the good lines and the good angles that Spain were cutting off. The second half we came back strongly and we put in a decent performance. It's all about taking our chances at this level, and we didn't do that, and unfortunately left the back door open a few times again."
On the chances South Africa had in the game: "Definitely, with our structure and the way we move the ball and the players we've got in certain positions, we know that we can create chances and, as I said, we've got to take those chances in the attacking 'D'. But at the same time we need to tighten up in our defensive 'D' and we need to start shutting a few more out."
Miguel DELAS (ESP), on the match: "I had a feeling the game could have gone either way, we had problems with two wounded players and in the beginning we were losing. The players needed confidence in themselves and we really went forward through difficulties. This match really reaffirms that we need to work more rather than less, but I feel like the semi-finals are really in our grasp."
Marc SALLES (ESP), on scoring the first goal of the match: "It is my first goal in an Olympic event and it's absolutely amazing. It's hard to comprehend how amazing it really is with everyone shouting and cheering in the stadium."
On what the result means for the Spanish team: "I think the final score is as a result of our hard work. We were missing three of our players - two are injured (Santiago FREIXA and Pol AMAT) and one is suspended. We decided yesterday that we had the chance to really work hard and to 'go go go' and do this for our team members that can't be on the pitch, and so we did."
|August 03rd, 2012 at 1:00 pm||Game five of the day is make or break for South Africa and Spain, they both are in search of their first win|
|August 03rd, 2012 at 1:00 pm||Spain tip off with C Oca de Montes (ARG) and T Pullman (AUS) the umpires for this one|
|August 03rd, 2012 at 1:01 pm||Spain have just 15 players to pick from today, Enrique suspended for this game while Xavi Trenchs (GK) replaces injured Pol Amat|
|August 03rd, 2012 at 1:09 pm||Haley and McDade work the first opening of the game, Cortes saves comfortably from the former, RSA 0 ESP 0, 10mins|
|August 03rd, 2012 at 1:12 pm||D Alegre plays in a sweet ball to Tubau who thumps it just wide, very good move from Spain, RSA 0 ESP 0, 13mins|
|August 03rd, 2012 at 1:19 pm||Hykes takes a walk for two minutes, RSA 0 ESP 0, 19mins|
|August 03rd, 2012 at 1:24 pm||Quemada sees the first corner of the day charged down by Louw, still scoreless, 24mins|
|August 03rd, 2012 at 1:26 pm||Reid-Ross gives South Africa the lead with a heavily deflected corner in the 26th minute, RSA 1 ESP 0|
|August 03rd, 2012 at 1:29 pm||Halkett gets a green card for South Africa, their second suspension of the game, RSA 1 ESP 0, 30mins|
|August 03rd, 2012 at 1:32 pm||Salles equalises from Spain's third corner, sliding onto Quemada's push to the right post, RSA 1 ESP 1, 30mins|
|August 03rd, 2012 at 1:37 pm||Half-time: South Africa 1 (Reid-Ross) Spain 1 (Salles), two corner goals see the honours even at the break|
|August 03rd, 2012 at 1:54 pm||Quemada puts Spain in front, finsihing off after Ballbe hared down the right wing and cross perfectly, RSA 1 ESP 2, 43mins|
|August 03rd, 2012 at 1:55 pm||David Alegre gets another green for Spain, RSA 1 ESP 2, 44mins|
|August 03rd, 2012 at 1:58 pm||Green card for Andrew Cronje now, South Africa were enjoying a decent spell to that point, RSA 1 ESP 1, 48mins|
|August 03rd, 2012 at 2:03 pm||Hykes fresh-airs and Norris-Jones reverses into the side-netting, South Africa getting closer, RSA 1 ESP 2, 52mins|
|August 03rd, 2012 at 2:06 pm||Tubau and Alegre combine brilliantly to cause havoc in the circle, eventually winning their side a corner, RSA 1 ESP 2, 54mins|
|August 03rd, 2012 at 2:09 pm||Delas makes it 3-1 with another corner move, deflecting in Quemada's low push, 55mins|
|August 03rd, 2012 at 2:18 pm||Norris-Jones gets one back as he coolly finishes off from Ian Haley's clever pass, RSA 2 ESP 3, 63mins|
|August 03rd, 2012 at 2:18 pm||Fernandez gets a yellow for Spain, opportunity knocks for SA to nick a draw? RSA 2 ESP 3, 65mins|
|August 03rd, 2012 at 2:25 pm||Final score: Spain 3 (Salles, Quemada, Delas) South Africa 2 (Reid-Ross, Norris-Jones), Spain withstand a late barrage to win|
|August 03rd, 2012 at 2:27 pm||Spain now on four point from three games and have an outside shot at the semis; South Africa on one point to date|