After four games in Ireland, Canada’s men’s field hockey team kicked off the second and final leg of its pre-Olympic European tour with a 3-0 loss to Spain Thursday in Madrid.
The contest was the first of three games between the two Olympic bound teams. It is the second time the countries have met this year, after playing a friendly in South Africa in January.
The teams also met in 2015 at the Hockey World League Semifinal in Argentina, where the Canadians upset the Spanish 3-2 en route to 2016 Olympic qualification.
On Thursday, Spain got the better of Canada, scoring two first half goals, despite a fairly evenly played thirty minutes.
The first chances of the game went to the home side, who put two quick shots on goalkeeper David Carter in the 5th and 6th minutes, but the Canadian backstop turned them away confidently.
Canada then spent some time in the Spanish end, keeping Spain pinned deep in its own end before picking up a chance of is own in the 13th minute when Keegan Pereira quickly took a free hit and put a ball into the circle for an open Brenden Bissett, who was a step behind and couldn’t convert.
Spain went back the other way and in the 14th minute, a ball played into the Canadian circle bounced free to David Alegre who put it by Carter for his first of two goals on the night.
Canada carried the play at the beginning of the second quarter, but wasn’t able to generate any scoring chances despite plenty of possession.
Spain then capitalized on an opportunity on the penalty corner. Carter and Canadian captain Scott Tupper combined to thwart the first attempt, but the rebound on a second consecutive corner was put in by Salva Piera just before half-time for the 2-0 lead.
The pace picked up early in the second half with both teams aware that the third goal could be a turning point.
Canada’s Floris van Son almost got Canada on the board in the 40th minute when he made a quick move around a Spanish defender to get into the circle, but his backhand shot went just over the goal.
As they had in the first two quarters, the Spanish added a late-quarter goal to go up 3-0 in the third quarter and despite Canada creating several offensive opportunities in the fourth period, Spain came out victorious.
The second match of the three-game series will be played Friday at 7:00pm local time (10:00am PT/1:00pm ET) and can be watched live here.