Head coach Zak Jones saw Wales' men suffer first defeat of Open Series.

Wales Suffer First Open Series Defeat Against Austria

Wales found Austria a much tougher nut to crack than Slovakia and were beaten 3-0 in their second game in the Open Series in Zagreb.

A day after they had hammed Slovakia 6-1, Wales found the side ranked five places above them in the world rankings in 19th spot too hot to handle despite dominating the opening exchanges.

Austria and Wales will be swapping places in the Euro Hockey Champions Cup next year after the Austrians were relegated and Wales gained promotion back to the top flight for the first time in two decades.

The game showed just how much head coach Zak Jones’ squad needs to step up ahead of next year’s tournament.

Dominic Uher opened the scoring for the Austrians with a well taken individual goal seconds before the quarter time hooter. There were few further chances in an even first-half that ended 1-0.

Wales started the second half brightly earning two penalty corners, but failed to find an equaliser on both occasions. Soon after, they were punished for their missed chances when the experienced Michael Korper finished superbly from Austria’s first penalty corner of the period.

As Wales chased the game, Korper added his second goal to put the result beyond doubt. Wales can still progress to the next round, but need to finish in the top two at the five team tournament.

They now face Switzerland on Thursday, 28 June (18.30 BST) and complete their programme against host nation Croatia on Saturday, 30 June.

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