[img_assist|nid=4555|title=Save|desc=Francisco Cortes was in fine form in Spain’s 1-1 draw with Pakistan – hockeyimages.co.uk|link=node|align=right|width=220|height=146]LONDON, 30 July – Spain and Pakistan drew 1-1 in their opening men’s hockey pool match at the Riverbank Arena on Monday, but the result came with bad news for Spain as captain Santiago Frexia injured his left wrist.
He was involved in a collision with Muhammad Irfan towards the end of the first half, received treatment on the sideline and left the field at half-time with his wrist on ice. He returned for periods of the second half with his wrist heavily bandaged, but was very limited in his movement.
Francisco Cortes of Spain was the first half’s busier goalkeeper and showed his value with two superb saves from Sohail ABBAS (PAK) penalty corners.
Shakeel Abbasi’s drive into the circle in the 12th minute earned Pakistan their first penalty corner and gave captain Abbas a chance to add to his tally of 19 Olympic goals. His powerful rising flick was expertly pushed on to the post by Cortes.
Cortes was in action again minutes later when Abdul Haseem Khan got a deflection on a Shafqat Rasool cross from the right.
Muhammad Umar Bhutta produced a skilful run into Spain’s circle to force Pakistan’s second penalty corner and this time Cortes used his stick to divert Abbas’ shot away from goal. He made further stops from Muhammad Rizwan Snr and Khan as Pakistan pushed men forward in search of goals.
Despite Pakistan’s efforts, Spain had the half’s final chance when a David Alegre cross into the circle somehow evaded both Eduard Tubau and Pol Amat, leaving the score 0-0 at half-time.
The match burst into life in the 45th minute when Rizwan Snr and Rehan Butt combined for the opening goal, but Spain were level within a minute as Pau Quemada found space in Pakistan’s circle and his powerful reverse stick shot went between the legs of goalkeeper Imran Shah to make it 1-1.
Just moments later Quemada again found space in the Pakistan circle and earned a penalty corner. Shah saved Quemada’s original flick from the corner, but couldn’t stop his head-high rebound. Under protests from Pakistan, the umpire ruled out the goal and Spain referred the decision to the video umpire.
The umpire’s decision was upheld, but Spain received another penalty corner. Quemada’s second attempt was blocked by first runner Rizwan Snr.
Keen to get more than a draw from their opening pool match Spain persisted with their injured captain Frexia, but could not turn pressure into another goal.