World number one side Australia have reached the final of the Owen G Glenn FIH Champions Trophy with a game to spare thanks to a fine 4-2 win against the Netherlands in Pool C. The Kookaburras, who have won the past three Champions Trophy tournaments, were is ruthless goal-scoring form with Chris Ciriello, Matt Gohdes (2) and his cousin Jamie Dwyer gave Australia a 4-2 win over the Dutch.
Spain were also winners in the Championship Pool, edging past home favourites New Zealand 3-2 to keep alive their chances of reaching the final. The Black Sticks lead their opponents twice thanks to goals from Andrew Hayward and Blair Hilton but were pegged back by strikes from Ramon Alegre and Edi Tubau before Ramon’s brother David Alegre hit a brilliant winner four minutes from time.
Earlier in the day Pakistan grabbed a confidence boosting 6-2 win over Korea before Great Britain were beaten 2-1 thanks to an overtime penalty corner flick from Jan-Marco Montag. More information about the matches can be found below.
Rasool inspires Pakistan to big win over Korea
Pool D – Pakistan 6-2 Korea
A four goal blitz in the second half gave Pakistan a confidence boosting 6-2 win over Korea in the first match of Day 4 here at the Owen G Glenn FIH Champions Trophy in Auckland. Following an evenly fought first half that finished 2-2, Pakistan attacker Shafqat Rasool produced an inspirational display to score one goal and set up two others as the Asian champions achieved their first win of the tournament. The win puts Pakistan onto three points in Pool D, and keeps alive their hopes of a fifth place finish.
Pakistan were forced to sit deep in the early stages of an enthralling first half as Korea relentlessly pressurized the Asian champions. Hyo Sik You and Hyun Woo Nam both missed very good opportunities early in the game before Nam Yong Lee showed great composure to drift past Pakistan keeper Imran Shah before flicking into an unguarded net in the seventh minute of the match.
Conceding the goal seemed to spark Pakistan into life, and soon hit back when Muhammad Imran launched a stunning penalty corner flick into the roof of the Korean goal in the fifteenth minute. The intense Pakistan pressure resulted in a second goal just minutes later thanks to Abdul Haseem Khan, although Khan’s cross-shot appeared to be travelling well wide of the target before taking a big deflection from the stick of Korea captain Jong Bak Cha and flying into the goal.
Just as it seemed that Pakistan were going to take a firm grip on the game, the momentum again switched back in the favour of the Koreans. A volley from Jong Ho Seo travelled fractionally wide of the target ahead of the Korean equalizer, which came courtesy of a low penalty corner drag-flick from Hyun Woo Nam seven minutes ahead of the half time break.
Much like the first half, Korea bossed the start of the second period. However, impressive Pakistan defending thwarted the Koreans on numerous occasions. However, the tide turned when a defensive error was almost punished by the irrepressible Shakeel Abbasi, whose goal-bound shot was deflected just wide of the target by Korea’s Nam Yong Lee. It proved to be a pivotal moment, as Pakistan once again grabbed the initiative and set about the task of claiming all three points.
Pakistan took the lead in the 6oth minute thanks to a brilliant round-the-back deflection from Abdul Haseem Khan, a goal that was made courtesy of some incisive play by Shafqat Rasool. Rasool was again in the thick of the action three minutes later when his goal-bound flick hit the body of a Korean defender on the goal line, resulting in a penalty stroke which was expertly dispatched by Waseem Ahmed before Rasool grabbed a goal of his own less than 60 seconds later to make the score 5-3. The rout was completed by Mohammad Imran, who scored his second of the game with another well placed penalty corner flick.
Late Montag missile rocket downs Great Britain
Pool D - Germany 2-1 Gret Britain
A vastly improved performance from Great Britain was harshly punished as a last gasp penalty corner from Jan-Marco Montag gave Germany a 2-1 win which puts them top of Pool D overnight. With the scores locked at 1-1, Montag sent a glorious penalty corner flick into the roof of the James Fair’s goal to break British hearts in the second match of the day here in Auckland.
Great Britain started the game nervously, clearly still hurting from Tuesday’s shattering 8-1 defeat against Spain. The Germans were determined to draw first blood, and did just that when in the 4th minute Martin Zwicker showed a calm head to flick into the goal following excellent work down the right from Benjamin Wess.
The Brits battled well after conceding and eventually dragged themselves level when a fine attacking move was finished off by Glenn Kirkham. The British captain produced a sublime first touch to control a pass into the circle before crashing the ball through the legs of Germany keeper Nico Jacobi to tie up the scores.
Both sides had fine chances move ahead before the break, with Oskar Deecke going closest with a shot from the right that was spectacularly cleared off the line by Great Britain’s Adam Dixon.
A blistering penalty corner flick from Jan-Marco Montag almost re-established the German lead in the 46th minute, but James Fair produced a magnificent stick save to force the ball around the post.
Great Britain dominated the latter stages of the game and would surely have taken the lead were it not for some incredible defending from Germany, most memorably when Pilt Arnold batted Ashley Jackson’s goal-bound penalty corner away to safety in the 67th minute. Jackson again went close a minute later when he worked his way along the backline from the right but could only find the side-netting with his flick-shot.
Germany won the first of two penalty corners in the final minute of the game, the first of which was well blocked by the British defenders but only resulted in the award of a second PC. With time expired, Jan-Marco Montag slammed a wonderful flick into the top of the Great Britain net to seal all three points for Germany.
Australia reach final with triumph over The Netherlands
Pool C – Netherlands 2-4 Australia
World number one side Australia have reached the final of the Owen G Glenn FIH Champions Trophy with a game to spare thanks to a fine display against the Netherlands. The Kookaburras, who have won the past three Champions Trophy tournaments, were is ruthless goal-scoring form with Chris Ciriello, Matt Gohdes (2) and his cousin Jamie Dwyer gave Australia a 4-2 win over the Dutch.
As you would expect from two of the world’s most exciting, attack minded hockey teams, it was a fascinating match with plenty of action in both circles. Australia were certainly the dominant force in the first half, and could easily have scored early were it not for some superb goalkeeping from Jaap Stockmann who made great saves from Chris Ciriello and Jason Wilson.
In the 26th minute, The Netherlands were awarded a penalty corner, but all time Champions Trophy top scorer Taeke Taekema was denied the chance to shine thanks to a smart video referral from the Kookaburras. Australia went to the video umpire again three minutes later when they believed they had seen an infringement in the Netherlands circle. Video umpire Gareth Greenfield agreed with Australia, and Chris Ciriello put away the penalty corner at the second time of asking to make the score 1-0.
Australia were given a warning early in the second half when Taekema sent a penalty corner fractionally wide of the target before The Netherlands pulled themselves level in the 47th minute thanks to a stunning reverse stick shot from FIH Young Player of the Year candidate Billy Bakker.
Incredibly, Australia hit back three minutes later when Matt Gohdes – cousin of four time FIH Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer – bundled home a penalty corner before making the score 3-1 with a blistering volley nine minutes from the end of the game.
Dwyer himself ensured that it was a family affair when he got his name on the score-sheet with a piece of individual brilliance in the 64th minute. Receiving an overhead pass down the right, Dwyer accelerated into the circle, moved his body around the ball before spectacularly crashing the ball high into the Netherlands goal to give his team a 4-1 lead.
The Netherlands scored a consolation goal in the final minute when Valentin Verga finished well after great work from Bakker, but it was Australia who took all the point s and confirmed their place in yet another Champions Trophy final.
Alegre brothers on target as Spain defeat Black Sticks
Pool C – Spain 3-2 New Zealand
Another large and noisy crowd turned out to watch host nation New Zealand’s Pool C clash with Spain, but sadly their side felt to a 3-2 defeat to the re-invigorated Europeans. The Black Sticks lead their opponents twice thanks to goals from Andrew Hayward and Blair Hilton but were pegged back by strikes from Ramon Alegre and Edi Tubau before Ramon’s brother David Alegre hit a brilliant winner four minutes from time.
The victory leaves Spain in a strong position ahead of the final round of Pool C matches, but are still likely to need a win against The Netherlands on Saturday if they are to book their place in Sunday’s final.
Spain’s Roc Oliva came close to opening the scoring early in the match with a smart deflection that travelled just wide of the target before New Zealand sent the home crowd into raptures when Andy Hayward netted with a 16th minute penalty corner. Hayward’s low flick rattled the right post before the ball hit a Spanish foot and trickled over the goal-line.
However, Spain ensured that they went into the break level thanks to a 32nd minute penalty corner from Ramon Alegre, who instinctively volleyed home following a good initial save from Black Sticks keeper Kyle Pontifex.
New Zealand re-established their advantage shortly after half time when Blair Hilton deflected into the goal following a great run from Shea McAleese, but again Spain hit back thanks to a classy reverse stick finish from mercurial striker Edi Tubau.
The latter stages of the game ebbed and flowed, with the home crowd desperate to see their side come away with all three points. Sadly they were to be disappointed when David Alegre crashed a powerful shot into the goal from a tight angle in the 66th minute to effectively seal victory. New Zealand rallied hard in the dying seconds, but Spain held on for victory.
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