|May 3rd, 2012|
|15||Pool A||6:30pm||CHI - AZE||2 - 2 (0 - 1)||Final|
Chile 2, Azerbaijan 2
Second-seeded Azerbaijan will face top-seeded Japan in the final game after the Azerbaijanis drew against Chile 2-2 in today’s round robin finale. Azerbaijan needed at least one point from today’s outing to make it to the final and they got just that after Chile staged and incredible comeback to tie the game at two with less than 10 minutes left in regulation.
Two identical short corner goals coming three minutes apart completely changed the outlook of the game as Chile stormed back from a 2-0 deficit to tie things up in the blink of an eye late in the game. Denise Infante and Camila Caram put in nearly identical penalty corner goals, going to the lower left corner to inject new life into the match.
The first half was evenly balanced with Azerbaijan holding the slight edge with a few dangerous chances. First the Azerbaijanis missed a point-blank shot and then a penalty corner goal was disallowed for being too high, leaving Azerbaijan empty handed. It was ultimately a bizarre, goal that the Chilean goaltender knocked in herself in the attempt to make the save that gave Azerbaijan the 1-0 lead. Myungsoon Mammadova got credit for the awkward marker.
Mammadova more than made up for the odd 1-0 goal when she doubled the lead with a well-executed penalty corner deflection five minutes into the second half. From there it was a lot of back-and-forth and it looked like Azerbaijan would cruise to the win when Infante’s first penalty corner went in with 11 minutes left. Caram’s marker got both teams on their toes going at blazing speed through the final horn.
Chile has been a hard team to predict the entire event. On one hand, they held Japan scoreless in a 0-0 tie, but in their next outing they drew against Malaysia, which finished the round robin in last place. Today the Chileans put in one of their more steady performances, but Azerbaijan was able to find the chinks in their armor and hang on for the draw.
Saturday’s final game will be a rematch of Tuesday’s round robin meeting. Japan dominated that match, coming away with a 4-1 win. Chile will meet Belarus for third place on Saturday.