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Rediff.com  » Sports » Champions hockey: Aussies cruise to third straight win

Champions hockey: Aussies cruise to third straight win

December 01, 2009 20:34 IST

Des Abbot scored in the 60th minute as Australia beat England 2-1 to maintain their unbeaten run and a three-point lead at the top in the men's Champions Trophy hockey tournament in Melbourne on Tuesday.

In another close match of the day, striker Matthias Witthaus struck a last-minute winner to help Germany squeeze past Spain 5-4.

Later, South Korea beat the Netherlands 2-1 in another close contest.

Australia, who now have three wins from as many matches, were the dominant side, but England took the early lead through Iain Mackay in the 13th minute.

Australia, not the ones to give up easily, went all out for the equalizer and their perseverance paid off nine minutes later, when Grant Schubert deflected a penalty-corner past England goalkeeper James Fair.

The second half was all Australia, but they could only score once, when Abbot found the winner 10 minutes from time.

Earlier, Germany got off to a rousing start with a first-minute goal as Benjamin Wess followed up on his own pass to the right and drove home.

Four minutes later, Jan-Marco Montag flicked a penalty-corner home to give Germany a 2-0 lead.

The Olympic champions were threatening to run away with it, but Spain pulled a goal back when Eduard Arbos finished off a slick passing move from close range.

Eighteen-year-old Florian Fuchs, the youngest player in the tournament, replied for Germany seconds later, deflecting in a long pass from the midfield to make it 3-2. But field goals from Eddie Tubau and Jordi Carrera put Spain back in front early in the second half.

With eight minutes to go, Fuchs again sounded the board from the top of the circle to level play 4-4.

Both sides pushed hard to find a winner as the game neared its end.

The game's defining moment came in the final minute, when Witthaus scored from close range only for it to be immediately ruled out by umpire Hamish Jamson.

The Germans appealed to the video umpire, who confirmed the goal.

Later, the Netherlands needed just 11 minutes to open the scoring, and it was Roderick Weusthof who got his name on the score-sheet.

The Koreans found the equaliser in the 26th minute when Hong Eun Seong saw his deflected effort fly into the Dutch net.

South Korea lifted the tempo against and were rewarded with the winning goal when Seo Jong Ho's strike from the right flew just inside the far post to dent Dutch chances of reaching the tournament final on Sunday.