There are now just six teams left in this year’s Euro Hockey League competition following another fascinating day at the KO16 Bloemendaal event.
Spain’s Club de Campo and HGC of The Netherlands became the first qualifiers for EHL Final Four with Quarter Final victories over Atlétic Terrassa (ESP) and Beeston (ENG) respectively. Campo and HGC will be joined in the Semi Finals by the winners of the Reading (ENG) v KHC Dragons (BEL) and HC Bloemendaal (NED) v Oranje Zwart (NED) matches which take place on Monday 25th April.
Madrid’s Club de Campo were the first team to reach Euro Hockey League’s Final Four tournament by beating Spanish rivals Atlétic Terrassa after a drama filled penalty shoot-out. It was a remarkable achievement for the team coached by legendary Spanish international Xavi Arnau who are competing in their first Euro Hockey League tournament. Team captain Bosco Perez-Pla scored the winning penalty to seal a victory, but it was a clever use of a video umpire referral in the shoot-out which turned the match in Campo’s favour.
When normal time of an error-strewn game finished with the scores tied at 1-1 – Atlétic’s Roc Oliva scored in the first period from open play before Willy Schickendantz grabbed Campo’s equalizer with a third period penalty corner flick – the match went to Silver Goal extra time. Both sides had great chances to win the game, with Oliva and Schickendantz having the best of them before the lottery of the penalty shoot-out came into play.
The first penalty was taken by Atlétic’s Sergi Enrique, who was facing former Terrassa player Xavi Trenches in the Campo goal. Enrique slotted the ball into the goal to seemingly give his team the advantage, but as there was contact with the keeper Campo decided to go to the video umpire, the first time it has ever been used in a shoot-out. Incredibly, the appeal was justified when video umpire Dan Barstow confirmed an infringement had occurred as ruled out the goal.
Willy Schickendantz made no mistake with his penalty, moving past Cristian Penalba before flicking into the unguarded net to give his team a 1-2 lead.
Atlétic needed an immediate response to put the Campo penalty takers under pressure. However, things went from bad to worse for Terrassa as Roc Oliva’s goal was ruled out for being just over the eight second time limit. Dramatically, Atlétic went to the video umpire in a bid to double check whether indeed time had expired before the ball crossed the line, but Barstow confirmed that the goal should not stand.
The winning penalty was scored by Club de Campo captain Bosco Perez Pla, who went past Penalba with consummate ease before blasting his team into the Semi Finals of the Euro Hockey League. The goal sparked jubilant celebrations from the Campo players, who will leave Bloemendaal knowing that their EHL dream is alive and kicking.
The ABN AMRO Man of the Match was Club de Campo defender Juan Fernandez, who had an outstanding game for his team.
Club de Campo were joined in the Semi Finals by HGC who defeated England’s Beeston HC 4-3. The result guarantees that there will be two Dutch teams in the EHL Final Four, the other being either HC Bloemendaaal or Oranje Zwart, who meet in the Quarter Finals on Monday.
The result was a very special moment for the HGC team who were wearing black arm bands to mark the passing of former HGC, KNHB and Netherlands Olympic Committee President Koos Idenburg.
Yet another big crowd was treated to an action packed match being played at a breathtaking tempo. HGC took an early lead when Rodrigo Vila cleverly deflected a Rob Short pass beyond unsighted Beeston keeper George Pinner in the 18th minute, but the Bees hit back just three minutes later thanks to a penalty corner flick from Andrew Monte.
The side from The Netherlands moved ahead once again shortly before half time when a slick penalty corner routine enabled Seve van As to flick a low effort into the goal to give his side a 2-1 half time lead.
Beeston began the second half in determined fashion, and restored parity once again through Monte who launched a blistering flick high into the roof of the HGC net. The Bees went looking for another goal, but a quick break led to another penalty corner which was coolly dispatched by Timmo Kranstauber to establish a 3-2 advantage.
With ten minutes remaining, Beeston fell further behind thanks to another wonderful penalty corner as a diving Connor Grimes angled a deflection into the goal from the right. The newly crowned English champions began to throw everything that they had at their opponents, and got their reward when England international Ali Wilson scored from close range with just six minutes left. The goal set up a grandstand finish, as Beeston went in search of an equalizer to take the match into extra time.
The most decisive moment arrived with just five seconds left on the clock, as a promising Beeston attack caused chaos in the HGC circle and sparked an appeal to the video umpire in the hope of a penalty corner. The video umpire spotted an infringement and gave Beeston the life-line that they needed, much to the disbelief of the HGC players and coaching team.
The situation was simple. A goal would tie the scores at 4-4 and send the game into extra time. A miss would send HGC through to the Semi Finals. Sadly for Beeston, a miss-trap at the top of the circle denied Andrew Monte the chance to complete his hat-trick and, more importantly, ended Beeston’s run in this season’s Euro Hockey League tournament.
The ABN AMRO Man of the Match was HGC’s Rob Short, with the 38 year old Canadian international showing superb leadership throughout.
HGC win activates EHL Semi Final change
HGC’s victory over Beeston HC in Sunday's Euro Hockey League quarter finals has activated a rule which changes the progress of the draw. With either another Dutch club – either Oranje Zwart or HC Bloemendaal - certain to join HGC at EHL Final Four, EHL Regulation A6 (c) comes into play.
EHL Regulation A6 (c): “If 2 clubs from the same National Association are qualified for the semi-finals, then those 2 clubs shall play against each other in the semi-finals (notwithstanding their position in any previous draw for the semi-finals).”
The activation of this ruling means that HGC are certain to play either Oranje Zwart or HC Bloemendaal in the Semi Finals, with Reading or KHC Dragons taking on Club de Campo, who were victorious earlier today.
The last time that a change to the Semi Final matches took place was in 2009, when H.C. Rotterdam and HC Bloemendaal both made it through to EHL Final Four.
The full Euro Hockey League rules and regulations can be found at www.ehlhockey.tv
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