Spain’s Rocio Ybarra celebrates scoring Spain’s first goal Photo Andy Laing/ISN
June 29, (ISN) Two goals from captain Rocio Ybarra ensured visitors Spain won the deciding encounter of the three match international series against Scotland by a 2-0 scoreline.
As a result, the Spaniards return home with a 2-1 series victory.
For Scotland, the final match proved to be a frustrating experience, the home side creating numerous scoring opportunities in the first half, but the cutting edge was lacking from yesterday’s win over the World Number 14.
The Scots’ first attempt on goal came in the tenth minute after good play from midfielder Nicki Skrastin led to the award of a penalty corner, where Cat Ralph’s subsequent strike was cleared off the line by Spanish defender Julia Pons.
Spain’s Rocio Ybarra attacking from a short corner. Photo Andy Laing/ISN
Skrastin again was the catalyst for another Scottish goal-scoring opportunity, this time finding Morag McLellan in space on the right of the circle, only for the Clydesdale Western midfielder’s attempt to be easily saved by the foot of goalkeeper Maria Ruiz.
The first threat from Spain came as late at the 26th minute in the first half, as Alicia Magaz avoided the challenge of two Scottish players along the baseline to engineer a close range shooting opportunity that goalkeeper Amy Gibson was alert to beat away from danger.
The national side were to rue a number of missed chances in the minutes leading up to half-time; first, a brilliant cross from Ali Bell was begging to be dispatched for the opening goal, but unfortunately Nikki Lloyd lost her footing at the crucial moment of execution, a Ralph thunderbolt from a penalty corner was saved, before Sarah Robertson’s shot was well saved.
Ralph and Lloyd were both denied goals from penalty corner set-plays in the 34th minute, before Spain launched at late counter-attack to win a penalty corner on the stroke of the interval.
Scotland’s Emily Maguire Photo Andy Laing/ISN
Gibson launched herself to save Lola Riera’s reverse stick effort, but another penalty corner award led to Rocio Ybarra netting the rebound from close range to make it 1-0 despite the Scotland stopper had brilliantly blocked Patricia Marana’s goal-bound hit.
Scotland’s number one had to be on her toes five minutes after the re-start, making two quick-fire saves in the 40th minute to keep her side from slipping further behind.
Spain were very much the form side in the second period though, and the home defence found themselves camped inside their own half for long spells.
It was only in the 58th minute that Scotland were awarded three penalty corners in succession to alleviate the pressure and try and secure an equaliser.
Scotland’s Amy Gibson makes yet another save Photo Andy Laing/ISN
Sadly, neither Aileen Davis nor Ralph were able to find the net from the presented penalty corner opportunities.
Three minutes from time, Spain wrapped up the match and the series after Ybarra deflected Perez’s penalty corner attempt at the back post into the net for a 2-0 win.
Scotland’s next matches before the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games will be the London Investec Cup against England, South Africa and Wales on 9-13 July.
Report via Scottish Hockey