HC Rotterdam and Club Egara are the teams that join HGC and Uhlenhorster in the semi finals of the Euro Hockey League.
Club Egara won through with a superb 4-0 victory over St Germain, with goals coming from Willy Schickendantz, Eduard Arbos, Pere Arch and a brilliant individual goal from Eduard Tubau secured their qualification in front of a packed house at Egara.
In the second and final match of the event in Spain, HC Rotterdam were 3-2 winners against Reading. Phil Burrows, Sohail Abbas and Jeroen Herzberger were all on the score-sheet for Rotterdam, with Reading’s Richard Mantell scoring twice for his side in what was an extremely close contest.
The matches brought the curtain down on a terrific four days of hockey, and created the prospect of two outstanding semi finals at the Euro Hockey League finals tournament in May. Uhlenhorster will face Club Egara, with the second semi final being an all Dutch encounter between HGC and HC Rotterdam. The matches take place at a currently unannounced venue in The Netherlands on 10th and 11th of May 2008.
Although there were no goals in the first period of play in the contest between Egara and St Germain, it did not stop the match from being an entertaining encounter for the colourful and noisy home supporters. The game was played at high speed, with both teams showing excellent skills in attack and defence.
Willy Schickendantz opened the scoring for Egara in the second quarter when he flicked the ball into an open goal following a stunning Egara attack that ripped through the St Germain defence.
St Germain were reduced to ten men in the third quarter when Frederic Verrier was shown a yellow card. Egara made the extra player count when Eduard Arbos brilliantly chipped the keeper to make the score 2-0. St Germain started to fall apart, and soon lost another player from the field when Sebastien Lebray was given a yellow card for a stick tackle. This was followed by a second yellow card and then a red card for Frederic Verrier, after deliberately putting his foot in the way of the ball. Egara looked to take full advantage of St Germain in their weakened situation, and soon got their reward when Pere Arch made the score 3-0. The goal was a sweet moment for Arch, who was wearing protective head gear after being seriously injured in Saturday’s momentous clash with Bloemendaal.
The scoring was completed with a sensational individual strike from Eduard Tubau, who picked up the ball in his own half before beating two players and the keeper to pass into an open net. It was no more than the player deserved, having been in outstanding form all game. As the final whistle went, the Egara supporters raced onto the field in celebration of the side’s progression into the semi finals.
It was Sohail Abbas who had his first chance to open the scoring in the match between Reading and HC Rotterdam, but his penalty corner was kicked away to safety by goalkeeper Nick Brothers. Late in the quarter, Richard Mantell flicked a powerful penalty corner which beat Rotterdam goalkeeper Daan Vismans, but was brilliantly deflected away to safety by Peter Taylor on the goal line.
In the second quarter, Reading captain Rhys Joyce was then hit on the head, and left the field with blood pouring from his face, but he returned later in the match with bandages covering his wound.
Rotterdam took the lead in the opening period of the third quarter, when Phil Burrows deflecting in a penalty corner from Sohail Abbas. The match really opened up following this goal, turning into an exciting “end-to-end” encounter. Reading’s chances of getting an equaliser were boosted by a green card to the influential Ryan Archibald, but they could not take advantage and Rotterdam soon went into a 2-0 lead courtesy of a Jeroen Hertzberger’s reverse stick strike. Reading hit back immediately with a wonderful penalty corner drag flick from Richard Mantell, but Rotterdam came straight back to win a penalty corner with seconds left to play in the quarter. Sohail Abbas flicked into the goal just as the end of period hooter sounded, sparking protests from many of the Reading players.
Reading tried hard to find a goal in the fourth quarter, and eventually did just that with ten minutes left to play, with Richard Mantell’s drag flick somehow squeezing under the body of Vismans. Reading went in search of an equaliser, but HC Rotterdam defended brilliantly in this last spell, and secured their place in the semi finals.
For videos from the event, click here.
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