Zhao & Mao strike late to rescue point
China fought back from a 2-0 deficit to claim a share of the spoils against Korea in the first match of Day 1 here at the Rabo FIH Champions Trophy for Women in Amstelveen. A goal-less first half was followed by an entertaining second period which saw Korea net goals from Cheon Eun Bi and Kim Jong Hee before late penalty corner deflections from Zhao Yudiao and Mao Weilin ensured that China claimed a point.
The first half was dominated largely by Korea who won a number of penalty corners, but a combination of excellent Chinese defending and some weak Korean routines ensured that the score remained goal-less.
Although China made occasional sorties into the Korea territory, they were denied any clear sights on goal by a very well organized Korean defence being marshalled by Korea captain Park Seon Mi.
Korea had another chance to open the match scoring in the final minute of the half when they won their sixth penalty corner, won their sixth penalty corner with less than one minute remaining in the first half, but continued to look short of ideas as yet another set piece opportunity went begging.
Following a half-time re-evaluation, China looked a greatly improved side in the early stages of the second period by pressing their opponents deep into their own territory. Korea seemed happy to soak up the pressure and hit China on the counter-attack, a tactic which proved fruitful when a break forward fell to Cheon Eun Bi who received the ball in space before firing into the goal in the 41st minute.
Eleven minutes later Korea moved into a 2-0 lead eleven minutes later when the lively Kim Okju showed great stick skills on the right to create space before spending a perfect pass to Kim Jong Hee who slid in to force the ball home from close range.
China won their very first penalty corner of the match in the 58th minute, but with drag flick star Ma Yibo not in the team for today’s match it seemed that they would be relying on variations. This paid dividends thanks to a neat deflection from 2010 FIH young Player of the Year Zhao Yudiao, who guided home a low flick from Sun Sinan.
Incredibly, China pulled themselves level with three minutes remaining, and again it came from a slick penalty corner routine with Sun Sinan this time picking out Mao Weilin to level the scores.
The final minutes were dominated by China, and when Zhao Yudiao won an overtime penalty corner it seemed that they would claim all the points. However, a miss-trap at the top of the circle denied them the opportunity to win the game, giving both teams one point from their first match in this tournament.
Review 1. China vs Korea 2-2 - Rabo FIH Champions Trophy 2011
> China ended their 5-match losing streak in Champions Trophy competition and collected their first CT point since beating NZL 3-1 in 2010.
> Korea ended a 6-match losing streak in CT competition and collected their first CT point since drawing 2-2 with England in 2003.
> Korea and China have now drawn their last three encounters: in November 2010, China won the Asian Games beating Korea 5-4 in a penalty shoot-out in the final after a scoreless match. Their 2010 Asian Games 1st round encounter ended 2-2.
> China came back from 2 goals down to draw 2-2 with Korea. The last time China came back from 2 goals down to draw in a CT match was in December 2005 against Argentina (2-2), when Gao Lihua and Ma Yibo (PC) led China to a draw.
> Korea’s Cheon Eun-Bi scored the opening goal. It marked the first CT goal for Korea since 2005, when Park Mi-Hyun scored in the 5-1 defeat against Germany.
> China’s Zhao Yudiao scored her seventh CT career goal and her third from a penalty corner. Zhao Yudiao has now scored goals in each of the last four CT editions.
> Gao Lihua celebrated her 200th cap in this match. She is the most capped player in the China squad.