Chile 0, Ireland 3
Ireland did what it had to do today to keep its Olympic hopes alive with a 3-0 win against Chile. The win sets up a showdown with Malaysia on Saturday in a game that will determine at least one of the finalists at this Electric Ireland FIH Road to London Tournament.
It wasn’t Ireland’s strongest outing, considering it was a game against one of the lower-seeded teams at the event, but nevertheless, the Irish were never in danger of losing the three points against still-winless Chile. Ultimately Michael Watt’s two second half goals secured the victory for the host.
Ireland took the 1-0 lead when Timothy Cockram easily converted the first short corner of the game just six minutes into action. It proved to be the only highlight of an otherwise uneventful first half as Ireland had to settle for the slim lead at the break.
It took nearly 10 minutes for Ireland to build on its lead as Chile stacked the men in the circle and focused on defense. Finally, Watt fired in a shot from the top of the circle to double the Irish lead and give them their first convincing pad of the game. Watt’s second goal came with15 minutes left to give the Irish serious breathing room as Chile’s defense started to look worn down.
All teams have an off day tomorrow before play resumes on Saturday with some key match-ups. Ireland vs. Malaysia will highlight the day as at least one of the two teams will make it to Sunday’s final. The Koreans play Russia in hopes of securing their spot in the final game and winless Chile and Ukraine will duke it out for their first points of the event.
Malaysia 2, Korea 3
Korea took a very important step to securing its spot in Sunday’s final at the Electric Ireland FIH Road to London tournament with a 3-2 win against Malaysia. It would now take an incredible string of results for Korea to miss out on Sunday’s final as the last slot will basically come down to the winner of the Ireland-Malaysia game on Saturday.
Jong Hyun Jang’s short corner goal with three minutes left secured the win for the Koreans after an unlikely comeback from Malaysia left the Koreans scrambling in the final minutes to earn the important victory.
Korea took a 1-0 lead five minutes into action when Hyo Sik You tapped in the ball after Malaysia failed to clear the ball after a Penalty Corner. The slim 1-0 lead stood through the first half, despite Malaysia serving more than 20 minutes of suspensions.
Korea came storming out in the second half and wasted no time doubling the lead when You struck for his second of the game. It seemed the Korea’s were well on their way to victory when Malaysia’s Hanifi Mas took advantage of a turnover and popped in the 2-1 goal in the 55th minute. That was all it took for the momentum to shift to Malaysia’s advantage as just two minutes later the equalizer came when Tengku put in a deflection on a short corner.
It looked the game was destined to end in a draw when Korea was awarded the penalty corner late in the game, setting up Jang’s heroics.
Korea’s last game of the round robin is against Russia, while Malaysia has its most important game of the event against Ireland.
Russia 2, Ukraine 0
Russia won its second game with a 2-0 decision against the Ukraine at the Electric Ireland FIH Road to London Tournament, putting itself in position to potentially vie for the bronze medal on the final day.
It was a relatively low key game between the two games that are out of contention for a ticket to London. Nevertheless, Russia continues to look stronger with each outing at the event, while winless Ukraine is looking run down.
Yaroslav Loginov netted a goal the first half and Aleksander Patonov tipped in the insurance goal in the waning minutes of regulation to seal the 2-0 win. Although it was a one-goal affair for much of the game, Ukraine rarely threatened the Russian net in the one-sided game.
Russia has a tough game on Saturday against top-seeded Korea, but it looks like regardless of the outcome of that game, the Russians should be playing for bronze on Sunday, while Ukraine is locked into the 5th-place game no matter how they fare against Chile on Saturday.
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