Ireland 1, Malaysia 1
It was the game everyone was anticipating all week and it didn’t disappoint. Malaysia and Ireland battled it out in front of a sell-out crowd for a spot in the Electric Ireland FIH Road to London final and left nothing on the field as the 1-1 draw was enough to give Ireland a spot in the final against Korea.
It took 60 minutes for Ireland to score, but it was certainly the team’s most important goal of the tournament and perhaps the entire season when John Jermyn put in the 1-1 goal on a penalty corner flick. The marker ended nearly an entire game of frustration that saw the Malaysians thwart nearly double-digit penalty corner chances for the Irish.
It was an electric atmosphere in Dublin with a sell-out crowd on St. Patrick’s day and the two teams fed off the energy in the closely contested game. Ireland was clearly the better team in the first half, but the spectacular goaltending form Malaysia’s Kumar Subramaniam kept Malaysia in the game. Despite spending much of the half pressuring the Malaysian net, Ireland had to settle for a 0-0 draw at the break.
Malaysia came out stronger in the second half and was rewarded when Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor deflected a shot into the net for the 1-0 lead for Malaysia. The lead stood for much of the half as the tension in the stands and on the field mounted. It wasn’t until Jermyn finally converted one of Ireland’s multiple penalty corners that the home fans allowed themselves to hope for a place in the final.
Ireland and Korea will play tomorrow in the final game of the tournament to determine which team will earn the berth to the London Olympic Games in a winner-takes-all meeting. Malaysia will play for third place against Russia tomorrow.
Korea 5, Russia 1
Korea secured its spot in tomorrow’s final after cruising to a 5-1 win in the final day of round robin action at the Electric Ireland FIH Road to London tournament.
The game was a mere formality for the sixth-ranked team in the world, which made easy work of #20 Russians. A pair of goals coming less than a minute apart in the first 12 minutes of play set the tone for the Koreans. Hyo Sik You put in a top shelf goal and Jong Hyun Jang easily converted the penalty corner for the early lead. Korea put in a last field goal to take a 3-0 lead into the break.
The Koreans continued to dominate play in the second half. Jong Ho Seo scored a field goal from the center of the circle nine minutes into action and Jan followed up with his second penalty corner of the game as Korea jumped out to a convincing 5-0 lead. Russia countered with a penalty corner of its own to get on the board and produce the biggest cheer from the crowd of the morning, but the goal did little to change the outcome as Korea went on to the four-goal win.
Korea will join the winner of the Ireland-Malaysia game in Sunday’s final. The winner of that game will be the 11th team qualified for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Russia is locked to play in tomorrow’s bronze medal game against the loser of the Ireland-Malaysia match.
Chile 4, Ukraine 2
With both teams already knowing they would be meeting again tomorrow in the fifth-place game, there was very little on the line in today’s Chile vs. Ukraine game. Nevertheless the squads put on an entertaining show as Chile topped Ukrainefor their first points of the event in an see-saw battle.
Ukraine took held a 2-1 lead at the half after rebounding from a sluggish start and a 1-0 deficit. Oleg Polishchuk scored both the first half goals to give Ukraine its first lead of the tournament.
The lead didn’t last long as Luis Felipe Montegu put in the equalizer just 40 seconds into the second half taking the ball straight in from the start of the half. Chile took its first lead since early in the game when captain Cristobal Rodriguez converted a penalty corner chance on a deflection. Alexis Berzcely sealed the win with 11 minutes left with a spinning goal from the top of the circle to open up a 4-2 lead.
Chile and Ukraine will meet again tomorrow in the 11:00 match to determine fifth place. Chile holds the #26 place in the FIH World Ranking and Ukraine is #29.
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