Friday, July 10, 2009

Poland 3 Ireland 2


Ireland 2 (Mikey Watt, Alan Sothern) Poland 3 (Tomasz Gorny, Maciej Janiszewski, Tomasz Dutkiewicz)

Despite the match being solely to decide semi-final pairings, Ireland and Poland played out the most intense battle of the Champion’s Challenge II to date.
Tomasz Dutkiewicz’s low corner strike early in the second half proved the vital moment of a helter-skelter battle with both sides taking the most direct route to goal.
Ireland led twice but could not hold onto the advantage in the face of the Polish onslaught.
Mikey Watt opened the scoring in the fifth minute just moments after Dariusz Rachwalski applied the pitching wedge over David Harte’s goal.
The Grange man dug the ball out from under his feet to reverse home after Eugene Magee’s baseline foraging pulled goalkeeper Marcin Trzaskawka. Tomasz Gorny levelled soon after as he burst two tackles before smashing home via a defensive stick.
Sothern restored the lead in the 24th minute from the first corner of the game - won after Tim Lewis’ sublime long ball reached Graham Shaw on the circle’s edge. But the sides were on level terms when Maciej Janiszewski’s snap-shot beat Harte in the 33rd minute.
Magee had a chance to restore the lead yet again when Timmy Cockram hared through but his lay-off was slipped across goal to leave the game 2-2 at the interval.

And Poland’s Tomasz Dutkiewicz put Ireland behind for the first time in the competition as he fired his side’s first corner low after Miroslaw Juszczak spun the ball into his path.

From there, a rip-roaring encounter saw plenty of circle penetrations but no more goals. Four Irish straight strikes from corners went by the wayside as Poland placed two men on the line with goalkeeper Trzaskawka.
Sothern hit the post with the third of those while Jermyn’s drive was saved on the final hooter. Dutkiewicz, for his part, drew a top drawer save from Harte to keep Ireland in contention.
Afterwards, Paul Revington felt his side came up second best in the game’s key battles. “We are disappointed that we lost the penalty corner battle and the counter attack battle. These two areas of the game must improve for the weekend.”
Final group standings (points/goal difference):
Group A:
1. Poland 9pts (+3) 2. Ireland 6pts (+5) 3. Japan 3pts (-3) 4. Chile 0pts (-5)
Fixtures (Saturday):
Semi-finals: 2.30pm France vs Poland; 5pm Malaysia vs Ireland

Thrilling 4-3 win


Group B: Malaysia 4 (Ismail Abu, Hafifi Hafiz Hanafi, Tengku Abd, Faizal Saari) Russia 3 (Alexey Sergeev 2, Alexey Mamoshkin)

Malaysia edged a thrill-fest to open the third day at the Champion's Challenge II, ending Russia's faint hopes of advancing to the semi-finals.

Malaysia made the best use of a non-stop, counter-attack battle in front of a vocal support to build up a 2-0 half-time lead through Ismail Abu's corner deflection and Hafifi Hafiz Hanifi's rebound.

Russia let three corners slip by before the break but Alexey Sergeev nailed the fourth six minutes into the second half and his side were level inside 30 seconds when Alexey Mamoshkin's reverse bobbled up and over Kumar Subramaniam.

Chances flew by at each end, with Leinster-based umpire Kris Cholewa letting the game flow well. Kelvinder Singh almost scoring one of the more outrageous 3d efforts before Tengku Abd stabbed home a corner rebound. Sergeev's drag-flick made it 3-3 in the 56th minute to raise Russian hopes once more but Faizal Saari smashed in from the top of the circle to kill the game and end Russia's chances. Malaysia top the group with three wins.