It was a disappointing end to KO16 for host club HC Bloemendaal who crashed out of the tournament at the hands of Dutch rivals Oranje Zwart, while Reading HC became the first ever English team to reach the Semi Final stages on Day 4 of Euro Hockey League’s KO16 event.
A packed stadium – and an injured Teun de Nooijer – watched in agony as Bloemendaal’s Ronald Brouwer and Lawrence Docherty missed their chances in the penalty shoot-out before David Alegre sealed their fate with the winning goal. Both normal and Silver Goal extra time finished with the scores tied at 1-1 before Oranje Zwart won the shoot-out 2-0 to claim their place in the Euro Hockey League Semi Finals. The ABN AMRO Man of the Match award went to Australian international Rob Hammond, who impressed greatly in the heart of the Oranje Zwart midfield.
The result means that there will definitely be a new name on the Alain Danet Trophy this year, as the two previous winners of the event – HC Bloemendaal and double champions UHC Hamburg – were both been eliminated at the Easter event. Oranje Zwart join Madrid’s Club de Campo (ESP), HGC (NED) and Reading HC (ENG) in the Semi Finals.
Oranje Zwart’s opponents in EHL Final Four will be fellow Dutch side HGC thanks to the activation of EHL Regulation A6 (c), which states: “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 other Semi Final will be a contest between the clubs from Spain and England, with Edi Tubau’s wonderful Club de Campo team taking on 2003 European champions Reading HC of England.
Earlier in the day, Reading HC qualified for their first EHL Final Four event by defeating Belgian champions KHC Dragons in an extraordinary penalty shoot-out. A frantic contest took place in front of a sell-out crowd basking in the sunshine, with Reading’s Nick Brothers – the ABN AMRO Man of the Match – giving a goalkeeping master-class to help his club team into EHL Final Four.
With the scores tied at 2-2 at the end of both normal and Silver Goal extra time, the match needed to be decided by the lottery of penalties. Jonty Clarke scored Reading’s first with ease before Brothers pulled of a great save from the effort of Florent Van Aubel to give Reading a slender advantage. However, things were evened up when Simon Mantell sent his lob over Manu Leroy’s crossbar only for Eugene Magee to score.
The last barrage of penalties featured Reading’s Iain Mackay and Loic Vandeweghe of Dragons. Mackay brilliantly scored his effort to put the pressure firmly on Vandeweghe, who had to score to keep his team in the game. Brothers put Vandeweghe under intense pressure to stop him getting his shot away inside the eight second time limit, but the Dragons player eventually found the goal with a reverse stick effort just as the hooter sounded. Reading firmly believed that the ball had not crossed the line when the hooter sounded, and decided to put the result of the match in the hands of video umpire Coen van Bunge. After a lengthy wait, Van Bunge ruled out the goal to end Dragons hopes of winning this season’s Euro Hockey League.
Reading are now one step closer to winning Europe’s elite club prize for the first time since 2003, and will look forward to their Semi Final match against Club de Campo with relish.
The Euro Hockey League would like to that HC Bloemendaal for their excellent hosting of a KO16 event that will live long in the memory for its huge crowds, superb weather and outstanding on-field action.
SOURCE: Euro Hockey League Media Release
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