It was a day of close contests and late winning goals as Germany, Korea and host nation Australia all recorded thrilling victories on Day 3 of the ABN AMRO Champions Trophy in Melbourne, Australia.
Germany striker Matthias WITTHAUS produced a struck in the 70th minute to defeat Spain 5:4 in the first match of the day. It was a stunning game which seemed destined for a draw until WITTHAUS scored a goal which was awarded courtesy of a video umpire referral. The result keeps alive Germany’s chances of reaching next Sunday’s tournament final.
In the second match of the day, Korea captain SEO Jong Ho hit the target with just two minutes of the match remaining to give his team a stunning 1:2 victory over The Netherlands. Both sides could have won the match late in the game, but it was SEO’s magnificent shot from the right that flew just inside the far post to hit Dutch chances of reaching the tournament final on Sunday.
The final match of the day witnessed host nation and hot favourites Australia make it three wins out of three with a 2:1 victory over England. Des ABBOTT was the hero of the hour, scoring in the 60th minute to seal all of the points and keep their three point lead at the top of the league table.
See below for more information about these exciting matches.
Day 4 of the ABN AMRO Champions Trophy gets underway on Thursday at 15.05 (local time - GMT +11), with Korea taking on Spain. England and The Netherlands face each at 17.05, before host nation Australia face World and Olympic Champions Germany at 19.05. Wednesday is a rest day.
The FIH has launched a special “microsite” which is providing extensive coverage of all the action from Melbourne. You will be able to see video interviews with the players; read live written commentaries, match reports, and quotes; view stunning action photos from each match and much more. For more information, please visit www.abnamrochampionstrophy2009.sportcentric.com
Reports - Day 3
Match 07: Spain v Germany – 5:4 (2:3)
Germany striker Matthias WITTHAUS produced a late winner to defeat Spain 5:4 in the first match day 3 at the ABN AMRO Champions Trophy in Melbourne Australia. The result keeps alive Germany’s chances of reaching next Sunday’s tournament final.
Germany burst into life at the start of the first quarter, taking the lead in the second minute of the game. The scorer was Benjamin WESS, who had missed Germany’s loss to Korea due to suspension, but showed exactly how important he is to his team with an expert reverse stick finish. Four minutes later Germany were even further ahead when Jan-Marco MONTAG continued his excellent penalty corner form with a flick that found its way just inside the left post of the Spanish goal. The Olympic Champions were threatening to run away with it, but Spain pulled a goal back when Eduard ARBOS finished off a slick passing move from close range. However, Germany re-established the two goal advantage when 18-year-old Florian FUCHS made a big name for himself with a deft deflection past Spanish keeper Francisco CORTES. The teenager wheeled away in celebration, with his club-mate Moritz FURSTE being the first to congratulate him. Spain bounced back yet again when veteran defender Xavi RIBAS found the bottom left corner with a penalty corner, ensuring that his team were still very much in the mix at half time.
Things became even more interesting just after half time when the mercurial Edi TUBAU hit a stunning reverse stick strike past Germany keeper Max WEINHOLD from the tightest of angles to level the scores. The momentum was with the Spaniards, and it was they who scored again when striker Pau QUEMADA found the corner with just the keeper to beat to make the score 4-3. However, Germany fought back and it was that man Florian FUCHS who got on the score-sheet again with powerful reverse stick strike that CORTES touched but could not keep out of his net. Both sides pushed hard to find a winner as the game neared its end, with Germany’s Jan-Marco MONTAG going close with a penalty corner. The game’s defining moment came in the final minute of the match, when Matthias WITTHAUS scored from close range only for it to be immediately ruled out by umpire Hamish JAMSON. Germany appealed to the video umpire who confirmed the goal, much to the disappointment of the Spain players. Germany had won the match, keeping themselves in contention to reach Sunday’s tournament final.
Match 08: Netherlands v Korea – 1:2 (1:1)
A late strike from SEO Jong Ho gave Korea a stunning 1:2 victory over The Netherlands in the second match of Day 3 here in Melbourne. Both sides could have won the match late in the game, but it was a magnificent shot from SEO from the right flew just inside the far post to hit Dutch chances of reaching the tournament final on Sunday.
The Netherlands needed just 11 minutes to open the scoring, and it was Roderick WEUSTHOF who got his name on the score-sheet, finishing off a neat passing move for the Europeans. The Netherlands were seemingly in control, but Korea always looked dangerous going forward and capable of grabbing an equalizer. It eventually came in the 26th minute when HONG Eun Seong saw his deflected effort fly into the Dutch net. The Netherlands were arguably the better team in the first period, but with the Koreans keeping captain and playmaker Teun DE NOOIJER quiet they could not secure a lead at half time.
DE NOOIJER’s influence on the game began to increase in the second period, but still no goal arrived for the Dutch as efforts from the captain as well as Taeke TAEKEMA were blocked by the Korea defence. The Korean threat continued however, with HONG Eun Seong sending an effort into the side netting as the end of the match drew closer. When The Netherlands won a penalty corner in the 66th minute, it seemed destiny that Taeke TAEKEMA would step up to score the winner. However, TAEKEMA’s flick was well saved by goalkeeper LEE Myung Ho and Korea pressed forward for a winner of the own. It arrived with just over a minute of the match remaining, with SEO’s strike breaking Dutch hearts. Korea are looking like a completely different team to the one that lost heavily against Australia on Day 1, and may well be the surprise package of this tournament.
Match 09: Australia v England – 2:1 (1:1)
Australia made it three wins out of three with a 2:1 victory over England in the final match of the day in Melbourne, Australia. Des ABBOTT was the hero of the hour, scoring in the 60th minute to seal all of the points and keep their three point lead at the top of the league table.
As has been standard throughout this tournament, a large crowd turned out to watch the Kookaburras in action, with the fierce sporting rivalry between England and Australia adding extra spice to the occasion. Most people were expecting a simple walkover for Australia, who have been in sensational form throughout the event. However, it was clear from the first moments that the European Champions were playing not just to compete, but to win. Australia were certainly the better of the two teams in the opening period, but it was England who took the lead against the run of play when Iain MACKAY found the goal from close range in the 13th minute. Australia went and search of an equaliser, putting their opponents under considerable pressure. A 22nd minute penalty corner levelled matters, with Grant SCHUBERT – surely a contender for player of the tournament – deflected a penalty corner past England goalkeeper James FAIR. England’s Ashley JACKSON went close to equalising with a powerful penalty corner flick, but outstanding goalkeeper George BAZELEY stopped the ball from hitting the roof of the net with a solid save.
The second half saw more terrific attacking hockey from both sides, with the vast home crowd cheering the Kookaburras all the way. In the 57th minute it seemed that Australia had taken the lead, but Glenn TURNER’s thunderous reverse stick shot was overturned by the video umpire for an earlier offence. However, three minutes later Australia secured a 2-1 advantage when Des ABBOTT played a one-two with the right post before passing into an empty net to send the home crowd into raptures. It was a killer blow for England, who could have conceded more late on were it not for the brilliance of their goalkeeper. England are looking extremely competitive in this tournament, but Australia will take some beating.
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