Story and Pic by FIH
Ireland 1, Korea 1
It was the first major test of the Electric Ireland FIH Road to London tournament as unbeaten Ireland and Korea met in a highly-anticipated match. The game lived up to expectations has the squads battled for the full 70 minutes in a hard fought 1-1 draw.
Korea, ranked sixth in the FIH World Ranking and the favorite of this event, fell behind in the first half after Ireland’s David Ames scored the only goal of the period on a diving penalty corner tap in bringing the sell-out crowd to its feet.
Hyun Woo Nam has been the key to Korea’s offense and he was the player to get Korea on the board. After 41 minutes of frustration, Nam’s low shot evened the game at one and silenced the crowd. The teams battled throughout the rest of the half in the best end-to-end action that’s been seen at this tournament.
With seven minutes left in action there was a worrying moment when Ireland’s Conor Harte took a hit to the head and had to be led off the field on a stretcher. The Irish team tried to rally after the injury break, but couldn’t get past Korean goaltender Myung Ho Lee.
The outcome of today’s game leaves the field wide open for the top three teams at this Road to London tournament. Malaysia leads the pack with nine points in three games. But nipping at their heels are Korea and Ireland, which are also both unbeaten, but have fewer points because of today’s tie. The next big test for the top three teams will be on Thursday when Malaysia takes on Korea.
Russia 4, Chile 3
Russia netted its first win at this road to London tournament with a 4-3 victory over Chile. The win still leaves the coveted spot to London out of reach, but nevertheless, it was a moral victory for the 20th ranked Russians in the FIH World Ranking.
The game was up for grabs until Russia struck with two quick goals midway through the second half to bounce back for a 4-3 lead. Pavel Golubev and Alexander Zhirkov scored the critical answers to Chile’s second half surge and killed the momentum that Chile was building. The lead stood through a tense final minutes as Russia took its first points of the event.
Chile went on the board first after Ignacio Gajardo was in perfect position to tap in the ball after it bounced off the post. Three minutes later, Russia’s Aleksandr Platonov returned the favor after finding himself in perfect position to put in a rebound for the 1-1 goal. Platonov gave his team its first lead of the game two minutes later to send the teams into the warmth of the locker room at the break with Russia holding the one-goal lead.
Jan Richter and Alexis Berczely each scored two minutes apart to restore Chile’s lead making it a 3-2 affair, giving Chile the momentum, but Russia stayed composed setting up the go-ahead heroics and hanging on for the win.
Malaysia 5, Ukraine 1
Malaysia did its part to stay atop of the standings at the Electric Ireland FIH Road to London tournament making easy work of Ukraine in a 5-1 victory. The win gives Malaysia three wins in three games and leaves the Ukraine looking for its first points at the event.
Perhaps it was the chilly weather in Dublin, but it took Malaysia awhile to warm up its offense, taking more than 25 minutes to score its first goal when Faizal Saari set up Tengku for the roof shot. The 2-0 goal came eight minutes later and was threaded between the legs of Ukrainian goaltender Vovodymr Kurbatov giving Malaysia the slim two-goal lead at the break.
Malaysia opened the second half scoring with its first penalty corner of the game 18 minutes into the half, but Ukraine bounced back with the surprising counter and put in its lone goal of the game to keep the Malaysians on their toes with a 3-1 game.
With seven minutes left in the game, Malaysia all but sealed the win with the 4-1 goal when Faizal put in the insurance marker. A penalty stroke goal in the last minute of action brought the final to 5-1.
Tomorrow all teams are off, and then on Thursday Malaysia has its first real test of the tournament against top-ranked Korea. Ukraine will look for its first win against Russia.