Spain produced a late comeback to stun World Cup winners Belgium in a shootout as the International Hockey Federation Pro League got off to a dramatic start in Valencia today.
Goals from Maxime Plennevaux and Alexander Hendrickx had given Belgium a commanding lead heading into the dying stages of the opening match of the tournament at the Estadio Betero.
But hosts Spain fought back valiantly, scoring twice in the final two minutes through Ignacio Rodriguez and Enrique Gonzalez to force a shootout.
Spanish goalkeeper Quico Cortes was the hero in the shootout as he thwarted all of Belgium's attempts, while Josep Romeu and Alvaro Iglesias found the net to give the home side maximum points from the first game of the Pro League.
"I think it was an incredible game," said Spain's Xavi Lleonart.
"We started really well.
"Yes, we conceded two goals but we still really believed in our team.
"We showed that our level can be the same as the Belgian team, so we are really happy and really excited about playing in this competition."
The start of the contest failed to live up to the pre-match billing as neither side could find a way through in the opening half.
That all changed after the break when Plennevaux rifled home a fierce backhand half-volley to give the World Cup holders the lead.
Belgium, the world's top-ranked team, seemed to have moved to the brink of victory when Hendrickx's penalty corner drag-flick found the net.
The second goal sparked Spain into life and they halved the deficit three minutes later through Rodriguez's clever finish.
Gonzalez then scored the equaliser at the death to send the match to a shootout as there are no draws in the Pro League tournament,
The Pro League resumes at the same venue on Friday as Spain play Britain.