2-1 win against Spain for NZ Women

By Hockey NZ

The New Zealand Women have given their quarter finals hopes a major boost after a 2-1 win against Spain at the Rio Olympic Games.

New Zealand dominated possession and the statistics sheet, with the final score not a true reflection of their hold on the game.

Capital striker Kelsey Smith was outstanding in one of her finest performances in a still fresh international career, scoring a goal in each half to secure the result.

The result sees the Kiwis remain well in touch on six points in Pool A, with two games still to play in the preliminary round against the Netherlands and China.

It was a fitting result in a game which saw captain Kayla Whitelock become just the second New Zealand Womens player to reach the 250 test milestone.

Head coach Mark Hager said while there were plenty of aspects to work on, the important factor was taking away three points with a win.

"We had a lot of opportunities throughout the game with plenty of circle entries but very little to show for it," he said.

"We need to be better in the attacking circle and make sure we put teams away when we can, and to switch off and concede a goal in the last few seconds isnt good enough.

"The positive is that we got the win and importantly take away the three points. By no means are we guaranteed a quarter finals spot yet so its important we focus on being more consistent."

Both sides tested each other out during the first quarter, with New Zealand creating the better of the scoring chances.

New Zealand opened the scoring in the 22nd minute from a penalty corner, with Smith getting a sublime diving deflection on a Whitelock shot from the top of the circle.

Leading by one goal at halftime, the Kiwis continued to put pressure on the Spanish defence throughout the second half but found it hard to find the back of the net.

Smith brought up her double in the 50th minute when she pounced on a loose ball in the circle to shoot through the feet of the goalkeeper.

Spain managed a consolation goal, their first at the tournament, from Carlota Petchame in the final touch of the match.

The New Zealand Women have a day off competition tomorrow before a huge match-up against the Netherlands at 2:00am on Saturday (NZ time), with the game broadcast live on SKY Rio Pop-Up 4.

Meanwhile, the New Zealand Men face a must-win against home side Brazil at 10:30am this morning, live on SKY Rio Pop-Up 1.

New Zealand 2: (Kelsey Smith 2)

Spain 1: (Carlota Petchame)

Halftime: New Zealand 1-0

- This story has been automatically published using a media release from Hockey NZ

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