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FIH Pro League: Belgium beat Spain 2-0, open up 14-point lead

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Valencia, Feb 6 (IANS) Belgium claimed a second FIH Hockey Pro League victory in two days over Spain, defeating the host nation 2-0 at the Estadio Betero to open up a 14-point lead at the top of the standings.

Belgium — who had recorded a 3-2 triumph over Spain on Friday — scored goals in the first and second quarters, with Simon Gougnard smashing home on the backhand before competition top scorer Alexander Hendrickx doubled the advantage with a trademark penalty corner drag-flick.

Spain competed throughout the match and created numerous goal-scoring chances. However, they could find no way past brilliant shot-stopper Vincent Vanasch, who made numerous world class saves, including a penalty stroke from Xavi Lleonart, to help his team to success in a match that was played behind closed doors under strict Covid-19 protocols.

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For Belgian midfielder John-John Dohmen, the result was the perfect way to mark his 400th senior international appearance. Dohmen, 33, is only the sixth men’s player to reach the milestone. The current caps world record is held by Netherlands legend Teun de Nooijer, who played 453 times for the Oranje.

“It was a great game; it is always tight against Spain,” said Belgium’s Vanasch, who was named player of the match. “I am very happy that we dealt with the pressure and I’m really pleased that John John Dohmen celebrated his 400th cap for Beglium today. We could not be more proud.”

–IANS

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