China and Australia were involved in a thrilling 3-3 draw at the Samsung Champions Trophy Women tournament in Monchengladbach, but the real story of the day was Japan defeating The Netherlands 1-0 in the final game of the day. Full reports are below.
China 3, Australia 3
China came back from 2-0 down to take a 3-2 lead against Australia only for the Hockeyroos to seal a dramatic 3-3 draw in the first match of Day 4 in Monchengladbach. Kobie McGURK’s equalising goal came from an overtime penalty corner which took a huge deflection from the stick of a China player before flying into the roof of the net. It was a great relief for Australia, who had been outplayed for much of the second period by their opponents. Australia can now rest until Saturday, when they have a must win match against The Netherlands. China will face Germany in their next fixture, which takes place on Thursday afternoon (Match Day 5).
Australia undoubtedly started the match the brightest, and it was only four minutes before they took the lead, thanks to a Sarah YOUNG tap-in. It was her first goal in Champions Trophy hockey. Australia took a 2-0 lead when Megan RIVERS was set up by Nicole HUDSON, who beat three players before passing to her team mate for another simple finish. Just a minute later, China were back in the game thanks to a trademark penalty corner strike from MA Yi Bo, a goal which seemed to give great confidence to China. After a long spell of dominance from China, FU Bao Rong deservedly scored the equaliser in the 49th minute, when she received the ball with only the keeper to beat and finished at the second attempt. Then, with eight minutes left to play, ZHAO Yu Diao timed her run perfectly to finish from close range to give China the lead. It seemed as though the match was finished for Australia, but Kobie McGURK’s powerful overtime penalty corner strike took a vital deflection on its way into the goal to guarantee a point for the Hockeyroos.
> Megan Rivers (AUS) and Zhao Yu Diao (CHN) netted their third goal of the tournament, which makes them joint top scorers with Marilyn Agliotti from the Netherlands after nine matches.
> Ma Yi Bo's penalty corner goal marked her 11th in Champions Trophy history. Ma Yi Bo is the top goal scorer for China in the competition.
> China's Fu Bao Rong netted her seventh goal in CT competition, four of which were scored against Australia.
> Sarah Young and Kobie McGurk scored their first Champions Trophy career goals in today's match.
> Australia have only been awarded 22 penalty corners at Mönchengladbach 2008, converting only three.
> Nicole Arrold has earned 150 caps for Australia.
> Ren Ye has picked up 50 caps for China.
> The last time six goals were scored in a Women's Champions Trophy match was in the final 5-6 at Canberra 2005, when Germany beat Korea 5-1.
Japan 1, The Netherlands 0
In what is undoubtedly the shock result of the tournament so far, The Netherlands were defeated 1-0 by Japan, thanks to a Kaori CHIBA goal. The Netherlands were by far the superior team, but struggled to break down Japan and when they did they could not find the necessary accuracy in front of goal. CHIBA scored a field goal in the 50th minute of the game, and held on to a 1-0 score-line for the remainder of the match. In their next fixture, Japan will play China on Saturday, while The Netherlands will be in action tomorrow against the improving Argentina.
The Netherlands found it tough going during the early stages of the match, but always looked dangerous going forwards with surging runs from Naomi van AS and Carlien DIRKSE van den HEUVEL causing problems for Japan. However, Japan looked very good in defence in these early stages – a trait that continued throughout the match. In the 50th minute all of Japan’s hard work paid off when Kaori CHIBA was left unmarked by the Dutch defenders and scored with ease. The Netherlands were stunned, and mounted wave after wave of excellent attacks, but Japan held firm. At the final whistle, the Japan players joyfully celebrated one their finest ever Champions Trophy victories.
Chiba scored her second goal of the tournament.
> Today's win marked the third win for Japan in Champions Trophy history.
> Their previous wins came against Spain at Quilmes 2007: 1-0 and 2-0.
> The Netherlands have fallen 1-0 behind in all three of their matches at Mönchengladbach 2008. However, this was the only match they failed to win.
> The Dutch team were unbeaten for nine successive Champions Trophy matches before today's defeat.
> Their last Champions Trophy defeat came on 15 July 2006 against Argentina (2-3).
> Today's 1-0 defeat ended Netherlands' 13-match scoring streak in Champions Trophy competition.
> The last time the Netherlands failed to score in a Champions Trophy match was on 8 July 2006, when they drew 0-0 with Australia.
> Fleur van Dooren picked up her first cap for the Netherlands in today's match.
> She is the sixth player in the Dutch squad to have made her international debut at Mönchengladbach 2008.
For more information about the tournament, please visit the FIH tournament microsite: http://www.samsungchampionswomen.sportcentric.com/
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