|June 19th, 2011|
|7||Pool B||3:30pm||AZE - IRL||1 - 2 (1 - 2)||Final|
Azerbaijan defeated as Ireland win again
Host nation Ireland achieved their second consecutive victory against higher ranked opposition at the ESB Electric Ireland FIH Champions Challenge, continuing their impressive start to the tournament with a 2-1 success against Azerbaijan here in Dublin.
The win takes them onto six points in Pool B, a position that will not change regardless of the result of this evening’s match between India and Spain.
Ireland looked confident and composed from the start, and like Saturday’s match against India the team secured a number of penalty corners in the first half. The third of their penalty corners was converted by Audrey O'Flynn, who fired home a great drag flick to put Ireland ahead.
Ireland looked likely to double their lead when Chloe Watkins broke through but her efforts went unrewarded. However, Azerbaijan were soon level when Myunsoon Mammadova took full advantage when Ireland’s defence was caught off guard in the 13th minute.
Julia O'Halloran re-established Ireland's lead just three minutes later when she cracked an instinctive volley into the Azerbaijan goal to delight the home crowd. The game ensued in end-to-end style with both teams creating chances and testing their opposing defences.
Ireland were forced to soak up a considerable amount of pressure in the closing five minutes of the game, but they displayed control and composure to run the clock down and ensure they walked off the pitch with another three points in the bag.
Ireland coach Gene Muller was unsurprisingly pleased with the performance of his team. "It was a very different game to yesterday, being a whole lot more attritional. This game demanded mental strength and resilience. The team is obviously delighted to have won consecutive games against higher ranked opponents, and we now look forward to a rest day tomorrow before our match against Spain. "
Azerbaijan v Ireland 1-2 (1-2)
AZE 0-1 IRL – Audrey O’FLYNN 13m PC
AZE 1-1 IRL – Myunsoon MAMMADOVA 18m FG
AZE 1-2 IRL – Julia O’HALLORAN 21m FG