Day 5 of the Argentina FIH Champions Trophy started with a surprising win as 9th ranked Japan defeated Korea 4-3 in extra-time. The second match in Rosario saw New Zealand beat China 3-2 also in extra-time. Japan and New Zealand will play off for the 5th place while Korea and China will do battle for 7th. On Saturday, the tournament Semi Finals will take place, with Germany taking on Great Britain before a titanic clash between 2011 champions The Netherlands and Argentina, the host nation and current world champions.
Full reports on all the matches can be found below, with extensive tournament information available by clicking here.
Komazawa’s Golden Goal gives Japan victory
5/8 – KOR 3-4 (AET) JPN
Despite high temperatures, both teams started off this match at great pace knowing that victory would lift them into Sunday’s 5th place play off. It took Japan less than two minutes until they penetrated the circle for the first time, with their attack leading to a penalty corner which was converted by Rika Komazawa (3’). Japanese goalkeeper Sakiyo Asano was soon called into action when she saved Korean Lee Seon-Ok’s penalty corner drag-flick before clearing a follow-up effort. However, Korea equalized when Han Hye-Lyoung (31’) scored her first ever Champions Trophy goal.
Just before half-time Korea took the lead after team-captain Lee Seon-Ok (34’) scored from a penalty stroke. The stroke was awarded due to an aggressive stick-tackle in the circle. Japan decided to refer to the video umpire but the original decision stood. It was the first time in the tournament that Korea had secured a half-time lead. Japan struck back in the second half when Akane Shibata (53’) managed to lift the ball into the net after Korean goalkeeper Moon Young-Hui saved a flick with her glove.
The next goal in this match came from a penalty corner. Lee Seon-Ok (64’)’s drag-flick went into the top corner of the goal and gave Korea a 3-2 advantage. Japan fought back again when Rika Komazawa (68’) tied the scores at 3-3. Korea were unhappy with the decision and used their team referral to ask whether there had been a five metre distance from a side-line-hit just before the ball was played into the circle. The video umpire confirmed that the match umpire’s decision to award the goal was correct. Towards the end of the match, Korea found themselves reduced to nine players when Cheon Eun-Bi and Hong Ji-Seon were both shown yellow cards less than 60 seconds apart.
The winning goal arrived in the second half of the extra-time, and again it was Komazawa who was the scorer. The Golden Goal - her third score of the game - gave Japan victory in the first ever Champions Trophy meeting between the two nations. The match winning strike was confirmed after umpire Wendy Stewart referred the decision to the video umpire to be absolutely sure that it was correct.
For more information on KOR v JPN click here.
Michelsen’s Golden Goal makes New Zealand win
5/8 – NZL 3-2 (AET) CHN
Prior to this match, New Zealand and China had met seven times in Champions Trophy competition, with New Zealand winning their last encounter 4-3 in the 5th place play-off at Nottingham in 2010. China, who came close to defeating World Champions Argentina in Thursday’s Quarter Final, proved that they were determined to claim a berth in the 5th place play-off. They won an early penalty corner which brought a fine save from New Zealand’s goalkeeper Bianca Russell. New Zealand clawed themselves into the game and missed numerous opportunities to take the lead including four wasted penalty corner efforts. Clarissa Eshuis’ attempted flicks were either well defended by onrushing Chinese players or forced off target by goalkeeper Li Dongxiao.
China took the lead thanks to Gao Lihua (24’), a goal which ensured that China went into half time with a 1-0 lead before Song Qingling (41’) doubled the advantage shortly after the break with a well-worked penalty corner variation. An accurate pass was sent back to the injector, with Song producing a calm finish into an unguarded net. New Zealand fought hard but the Chinese defence held the Black Sticks at bay.
Cathryn Finlayson (60’) finally put New Zealand on the score-board when she somehow managed to get a crucial touch on an awkward pass into the goal. The strike needed to be confirmed by the video umpire to ensure that the ball had crossed the line, but the decision went the way of the Black Sticks and they were back in the match. The goal gave New Zealand confidence, who began penetrating the Chinese circle at will. With just three minutes of the match remaining, Finlayson (67’) scored her second goal of the game to force the match into extra time.
China could have won the match in the first period of extra time, but Ma Yibo’s penalty corner effort went wide of the target. Instead it was the team from New Zealand who claimed victory in the match when they won two penalty corners in quick succession, scoring the second. Stacey Michelsen was the goal scorer, with the newly-crowned 2011 FIH Young Player of the Year finding the net in the 77th minute.
For more information on NZL v CHN click here.
Flash quotes on Day 5
Lim Jung Woo (KOR coach)
“First of all I would like to congratulate Japan. We have come from the 4-Nations in Cordoba, a hard previous competition, and the players feel tired now. We have already two injured players who won’t be able to play any match in this tournament anymore. Moreover there are another three players who are not physically fit.”
Lee Seon-OK (KOR team-captain)
“Today we haven’t performed as we would have liked to perform.”
Zenjiro Yasuda (JPN coach)
“I’m really happy with our victory today. The Korean team is very good one but their tiredness helped us. Now we have to work on many mistakes we made in our defence and our attacks. We must improve if we want to succeed.
Yukari Yamamoto (JPN team-captain)
“We started this match winning and never gave up. This victory is thanks to our persistence and perseverance”.
Sang Ryul Kim (CHN Coach)
“We played very well. We had a good first half but in the last 10 minutes New Zealand played very well. We lost because were unable to convert our opportunities.”
Mark Hager (NZL Coach)
“China played a great game. And we were lucky as they controlled almost all the match. But we were able to score in the right moments. The players are really tired. We have many young players in this team who made a great effort tonight”.
Kayla Sharland (NZL team-captain)
“We are disappointed with the first half we played where we couldn’t even control the ball. We played better in the second half, but we couldn’t score easily. We finished the match really tired and we decided to do our best in the extra time.”
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