Chile 3, Russia 2
It was a nail-biter to the last whistle, but in the end, Chile secured its spot in the FIH Champions Challenge 2 semi-finals with a 3-2 win against Russia.
Chile entered the Champions Challenge 2 in Vienna as the highest seeded team at #16, so the semi-final berth was no surprise. What is a shock is that Russia, which has struggled since the first whistle, is now in the placement bracket and will play to avoid being relegated. Russia entered the tournament as the third-highest seed at #18.
Chile dominated the first half, owning a 2-0 lead after 21 minutes. Manuela Urroz kicked off the scoring on a penalty corner and Gabriela Retamales followed up with an field goal. Russia’s Ksenia Shamina cut the lead in half four minutes before the break. Chile extended its lead to 3-1 on a penalty corner to open the second half scoring, but Russia pulled again to within one on a penalty corner attempt in extra time. The comeback bid ultimately fell short as Chile hung on for the win.
Belgium 1, Canada 0
The battle for a semi-final spot between #17 Belgium and #19 Canada could not have been any closer as Belgium hung on for a slim 1-0 win to move onto the medal round of the Champions Challenge 2.
The difference in the game came in the 55th minute when Belgium Anouk Raes put in a scored on a penalty corner. Despite their best efforts, Canada could not find the back of the net in the next 15 minutes as Belgium moved onto the semi-final game on Saturday.
For Canada, the loss is particularly tough after a strong showing at the tournament, going 2-1 in the preliminary round. Despite the strong record, the Canadians closed the preliminary round in third place due to a three-way tie that saw Canada take the third place with the worst goal differential. The finish gave Canada the tough draw of facing Belgium in today’s quarterfinal.
Belgium also finished its preliminary round group with a 2-1 record, but ended in second place in the group and with today’s win will play for a medal this weekend.
Italy 2, Malaysia 1
Italy secured a spot in the Champions Challenge 2 semi-finals after earning a 2-1 win against Malaysia.
Alessia Padalino was the hero for the Italians. She netted both of her team’s goals in the victory. It took nearly the entire first half for either team to make it onto the scoreboard when Padalino struck with her first goal three minutes before the break. At the 54-minute mark the Italian lead was doubled when Padalin scored on a penalty corner.
Fazilla Sylvester Silin pulled Malaysia to within one late in the second half, but there was not enough time for the Malaysians to put in the game-tying goal as Italy moved on to the win and the semi-finals.
Belarus 4, Austria 1
Belarus had no problem making its way to the Champions Challenge 2 semi-final, cruising to a 4-1 win against host Austria.
It was clear that Belearus was the strong team from the first whistle as they scored back-to-back goals coming one minute apart at the nine-minute mark. Austria injected some life into the game with a penatly corner goal 14 minutes later, but it would be the only cheering opportunity for the fans in Vienna as Belarus dominated the rest of the game.
Yuliya Mikheichyk put in two goals midway through the second half, the duo coming just three minutes apart. The surge effectively ended all Austrian dreams of a miracle berth in the semi-finals as Belarus sailed to the win.
Belarus will take on Italy in it’s semi-final game on Saturday.
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