On day 3 in Kuala Lumpur, Spain was able to hold the Netherlands to a draw, Great Britain picked up their first points against Malaysia, Germany narrowly defeated Korea, and Australia scraped past Pakistan.
The day started with the clash between European rivals Netherlands and Spain, and saw the Spaniards, who had started off their campaign in Kuala Lumpur with great difficulties, hold the favored Oranje team to a draw.
After less than six minutes, Teun de Nooijer scored first for Holland, and it looked like the Spanish were going to get disappointed again, but Victor Sojo and Edi Tubau got them back on track with a double hit before the break that gave Maurits Hendriks´ team the half-time lead.
In a see-saw motion the Dutch then pulled level shortly after the break through Rob Reckers´ fourth goal of the tournament, Spain went ahead again when David Alegre dove in for a brilliant pass from Edi Tubau, tipping it past Guus Vogels to restore the lead, and Ronald Brouwer hammered a ball home for the 3-3 final result.
Brouwer later sustained a bleeding headwound after accidentally running into a hit from the wrong side. In another incident in the fiercely disputed match, Santi Freixa and Thomas Boerma had a disagreement in the circle. Neither player was carded but Freixa ended up suspended after the match by his own association for misconduct.
A last minute penalty corner finally could well have spelt glory for Spain, but eventually saw the ball travel over the back line and the opportunity lost.
Next, Great Britain was up against Malaysia. Both teams had previously not been able to win points and were understandably keen to use their opportunity today. Once more, the hosts first took the lead and scored a goal halfway through the first half despite the Brits having more control over field play.
In the second half, Britain still had trouble finding a means against the tight-knit Malaysian defense but with a double hit turned the score around as Stephen Dick and Rob Moore contributed a goal apiece to give their team the lead. The two teams, equal opponents, kept locking horns and pushing back and forth with no clear advantages for either side. With seven minutes to go, Mohd Abdullah got the sizeable home crowd ecstatic with an equalizer that seemed to give the hosts their first point, but Ben Hawes crushed their hopes with the winning goal for Britain shortly after.
In the parallel encounter on pitch 2, Germany took on Korea. Korea started furiously, startling Germany with an early goal from Woon Kon Yeo, but only to find their opponents find their feet quickly and display their usual disciplined game, efficiently waiting for the right moment to strike.
Germany dictated play throughout much of the remainder of the first half but could not score, and had to go into half-time one goal down. When they returned however, the equalizer was immediate, as Nicolas Emmerling tipped in a free hit in a crowded circle. Sebastian Draguhn added the winning goal fifteen minutes later from a penalty corner, and as much as Korea tried to salvage a point, their efforts were in vain, and Germany cleverly held onto their lead until the final whistle confirmed their triumph.
In the day´s final match, Australia met Pakistan and again found it hard to get past an Asian team, just like two days ago against Malaysia. Eventually, two goals from Nathan Eglington and Grant Schubert, one per half, were enough to triumph over a lacklustre Pakistani side that looked disorientated over large stretches of time. Akhtar Ali could put one onto the scoreboard for the Greenshirts late in the game, but it was too little too late, and the Olympic Champions booked their second win of the tournament.
After day 3, Germany are now the only team not to have dropped points. They lead the table ahead of the Netherlands on 7, Australia on 6, and Korea on 4 points. Pakistan and Great Britain follow on three, while Spain and Malaysia trail behind on 2 and nil points resepectively.
The Samsung Champions Trophy Kuala Lumpur 2007 continues tomorrow with the encounters between Netherlands and Korea, Australia and Great Britain, Germany and Spain, and Pakistan and Malaysia.
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