Ireland draw with Spain

June 22, 2011

Ireland had a chance to go ahead in the 25th minute as Spain were forced to bat the ball out of the circle as Ireland continued to apply the pressure.

Ireland marauded forward after the restart but Spain soaked up the pressure well.

Hosts Ireland lost their 100% record in the Champions Challenge after a 1-1 draw with Spain in Dublin.

However, they still finished top of pool B after Leicester’s Emma Clarke equalised just minutes after they had gone behind in the second half.

Both sides had chances in the first half and Ireland’s keeper Pamela Smithwick was tested in the 15th minute but was equal to the challenge.

The home side had a great chance to take the lead with a penalty corner in the 44th minute but Michelle Harvey’s drag effort was denied.

Ireland had another penalty corner and re-award but both efforts were cleared.

Ireland were punished with a quick counterattack and a ball that flew high through the centre splitting the Irish defence leaving Smithwick with an impossible two-on-one which Barbara Malda converted.

Ireland shifted up a gear after conceding and Clarke weaved down the left on a magnificent solo run before cracking home a fine equaliser.

With ten to go Ireland had the lion’s share of possession and were unlucky not to take the lead as they continued to create some great opportunities.

Spain also had a couple of breakaway chances but Ireland dealt with the threats as the two sides shared the spoils.

Ireland now play the United States, who finished bottom of Pool A, in their quarter-final on Thursday.

Scotland finished second in that group after South Africa matched their result to take top spot.

The Scots went ahead against Japan through Grove Menzieshill’s Nikki Kidd after 13 minutes but Shiho Otsuka equalised just before the interval.

In the 5-5 draw with the USA immediately afterwards South Africa’s Pietee Coetzee broke the world goalscoring record as her four goals took her to 222 in 221 matches.

That draw means Scotland face Azerbaijan, third in Pool B, in their quarter-final.

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