Belgium 2, Malaysia 1:
It took a strong second-half performance for 17th-ranked Belgium to overcome #22 Malaysia in the opening game of the FIH Champions Challenge 2 in Vienna, Austria.
Malaysia held a 1-0 advantage at the half after Fazila Sylvester Silin scored the opening goal 14 minutes into action. The lead held until Belgium’s Jill Boon sparked her team to life in the second minute of the second half with the equalizer. Morgane Vouche put in the game winner in the 54th minute, allowing Belgium to breathe a big sigh of relief and earn the first win of the event.
Russia 3, Belarus 4:
18th-ranked Russia may be considered the big brother to Belarus, but today was the day for the world #23 to shine as they survived a late Russian surge to earn a dramatic 4-3 win.
Belarus netted the only goal of the first half, coming from Hanna Zabrotskaya in the 21st minute. But the tame first half was quickly replaced something out of an old western film as the teams combined for six goals in the action-pack second half.
Belarus took control of the game when they returned to the field after the break, putting in three straight goals to take a commanding 4-0 lead, including a second goal from Zabrotskaya. Down, but not out, Russia pieced together an amazing comeback, netting three goals in a six-minute span to pull to within one. But Irina Kuzmina’s 4-3 goal with 10 minutes left would be a close as the Russians would come as Belarus buckled down on defense and held on for the slim win.
Chile 2, Italy 1:
Chile’s Denise Infante gave her team an important win on Day One when she shot in the 2-1 game-winner against Italy in the 53rd minute.
Chile took the early lead, scoring just seven minutes into action, but after the taking the advantage, the Chilean offense halted, allowing Italy to climb back into the game netting the equalizer eight minutes later. There were no signs of life from either teams’ offense until Infante struck well into the second half with the eventual game-winner.
Chile is ranked 16th in the FIH World Ranking, while Italy holds the 20th spot.
Canada 2, Austria 1:
It wasn’t convincing, but #19 Canada eked out a 2-1 win against host and 37th-ranked Austria in the final game of Day One action.
Not a single field goal was scored as all three tallies came from penalty corners. Canada looked to have the game well in hand, netting the first penalty corner 12 minutes into play and adding another three minutes before the break. Katie Baker and Jessalyn Walke scored the Canadian goals.
Austria snuck back into the game when Irene Balek put in her team’s first goal of the game with eight minutes left. While the goal gave the home fans something to cheer about, it wasn’t enough to pull Austrian through to the win as Canada held on for the 2-1 victory.
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