Korea remains the leader of the AtaHolding Champions Challenge in Baku, Azerbaijan after Tuesday’s action. The Asian team scored a 4-3 win over host Azerbaijan and is the undefeated tournament leader with nine points out of three matches. China bounced back with an impressive 8-1 victory over New Zealand, while England drew against USA 2-2.
China 8 defeat New Zealand 1
Goals: CHN: SONG Qing Ling (FG 20m, FG 70m), XING Qian (FG 29m, FG 65m) TANG Chun Ling FG 35m, MA Yi Bo PC 39m, LI Hong Xia (PC 47m, FG 49m),
NZL: Kate SAUNDERS PC 69m
China bounced back into form with a sensational display of attacking hockey to crush New Zealand 8:1 in the first game of the day.
The match began in thrilling fashion with New Zealand immediately on the attack, but China were soon in control of the game and looked likely to get an early goal. New Zealand defended well, but conceded in the 20th minute when SONG Qing Ling picked up a loose ball and tapped into an open goal. FU Bao Rong was the architect of the goal, running half the length of the pitch before getting a shot away that goalkeeper JURGELEIT could not clear to safety. XING Qian soon added a second with an open play strike, with TANG Chun Ling fired a spectacular third on her reverse stick shortly after New Zealand’s Lizzy IGASAN left the field with injury.
China started the second half as they had finished the first, and scored three times in a period of just 14 minutes to kill off the game completely.
A MA Yi Bo drag flicked penalty corner came first, before LI Hong Xia adding two more to the tally in the 47th and 49th minute respectively. XIAN Qian scored her second of the game shortly before Kate SAUNDERS scored an excellent penalty corner strike, but SONG Qing Ling finished off the scoring in the 70th minute.
China have hit form just at the right time, with their Korea their next opponents on Thursday. New Zealand will hope that Lizzy IGASAN will have recovered in time for Thursday’s fixture against USA.
England 2 draw with USA 2
Goals: ENG: Mel CLEWLOW PC 45m, Alex DANSON PC 48m;
USA: Dana SENSENIG FG 12m, April FRONZONI FG 67m
ENG and USA played out an entertaining draw here in the second match of Day 3 here in Baku. An April FRONZONI goal three minutes from the end denied England the victory.
The match started slowly, with both teams looking more defence that attack minded. That all changed when USA opened the scoring through a Dana SENSENIG field goal in the 12th minute. England worked hard to pressurise the Americans, but could not find a break-though in the first half. However, a trademark Mel CLEWLOW penalty corner ten minutes after the break levelled the scores. They did not have to wait long for a second, with CLEWLOW again striking the penalty corner, but Alex DANSON got the all important deflection to guide the ball past USA keeper Amy TRAN. USA came back strong, but looked to have missed their chance when April FRONZONI had three shots in less then 10 seconds which England keeper Becky DUGGAN did brilliantly to keep out of the net. With just thee minutes left, the USA equaliser arrived, with FRONZONI finally beating DUGGAN with a cool deflection to give USA a share of the points.
England’s next match is against local favourites Azerbaijan on Thursday, with USA going head to head with New Zealand on the same day.
Korea 4 defeated Azerbaijan 3
Goals: KOR: Seon Mi PARK FG 12m, Mi Ra IM FG 13m, Seul Ki CHEON PC 42m, Mi Hyun PARK FG 53m
AZE: Dilfuza MIRZALIYEVA PC 18m, Zeynab NURIYEVA FG 35m, Marina ALIYEVA PC 66m.
Azerbaijan gave a wonderful account of themselves but eventually fell to defeat against Korea 4:3.
Seon Mi PARK opened the scoring for Korea in the 12th minute, but it was not long before Dilfuza MIRZALIYEVA scored Azerbaijan’s first goal of the tournament, deflecting in a penalty corner in the 18th minute. Korea were back in front in the 27th minute when Mi Ra IM converted a field goal, but on the stoke of half time Azerbaijan hit back again, this time through their captain Zeynab NURIYEVA.
Korea were the better team in the second half, re-taking the lead in the 42nd minute with Seul Ki CHEON’s superb penalty corner flick, and soon made the score 4:2 thanks to a field goal from Mi Hyun PARK. Azerbaijan set up a tense final three minutes when Marina ALIYEVA converted a high quality penalty corner routine, but Korea hung on for victory, making it three wins from three games.
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