By FIH -- Gold medal game: Korea 3, Ireland 2
It doesn’t get any more dramatic. With two seconds left in final game at the Electric Ireland FIH Road to London Tournament Korea’s Nam Yong Lee put in the game winning goal, sending his team to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Lee’s goal was the dramatic conclusion to a nail-biting, back-and-forth affair where both teams were fighting for their lives – and a berth to the 2012 Olympics.
The pressure was on the Koreans as they entered the both the game and the tournament as the big favorite, holding the sixth spot in the FIH World Ranking compared with Ireland’s #16 ranking. But the Irish have proven to be a tough opponent all week as #13 Malaysia learned in a 1-1 tie that knocked them out of the final game. Ireland also tied Korea in the earlier round robin meeting, 1-1.
Ireland’s Peter Caruth gave his team an early boost when he was in perfect position to put in a rebound on a penalty corner to give Ireland the 1-0 lead 13 minutes into action. With five minutes left in the half Nam Yong Lee slipped one in under Irish goaltender David Harte and put in the equalizer to make it a 1-1 deadlock at the half.
Korea dominated the opening of the second half as the ball stayed primarily on the Irish side of the pitch, but Timothy Cockram, who finished as the tournament’s top scorer with six goals, put in the go-ahead marker in the 56th minute firing the ball past Myung Ho Lee’s left side, giving the Irish a 2-1 lead.
But two minutes later Korea was awarded a penalty stroke which Hyun Woo Nam calmly converted to put things even at two.
It looked like the game was heading into overtime when the clock was stopped with nine seconds left deep on the Irish end. The Korean’s took full advantage of the precious last chance and stunned the sell-out crowd when the ball was fired in with two seconds showing on the clock. After a video review it was determined that the goal stood and Korean celebration began.
Korea can now look forward to joining the 10 teams already qualified to the London Games. Ireland can hold its head high once the sting of the loss wears off. The #16 team had a magical run on home turf and left it all on the field through the final whistle.
Third-place game: Malaysia 6 Russia 1
Malaysia made easy work of Russia in the third-place game with a convincing 6-1 win. For Malaysia the third-place finish was a silver lining in an otherwise disappointing tournament that saw them fall well short of vying for a place at the London Games.
Azlan Misron kicked off the scoring for Malaysia 2 minutes into action and Razie Muhammad Abd Rahim added two more penalty corner goals to give the Malaysians a comfortable 3-0 lead at the break. Malaysia was clearly underwhelmed by the domination as the goals brought little emotion from the team.
The second half was subdued with the biggest cheer coming from the crowd when Russia’s Nickolay Komarov scored his team’s only goal of the game with eight minutes left in regulation. Another two goals from Malaysia in the last five minutes of the game made the score a lopsided 6-1 final.
Fifth-place game: Ukraine 2, Chile 1
It was a moral victory for Ukraine, which picked up its first win of the Electric Ireland FIH Road to London tournament with a 2-1 win against Chile in the fifth-place match.
The Ukrainians were clearly pleased with their performance in the last game as they celebrated the win after the game. Meanwhile the Chileans were visibly deflated since they beat the Ukrainians just 24 hours earlier.
Artem Ozerskiy was the key to the win, putting in both of the Ukrainian goals on the penalty corner. His second goal broke a 1-1 deadlock with just seven minutes left in the game to seal the victory.
Ukraine entered the event as the lowest seeded team, ranked 29th in the FIH World Ranking, while Chile entered as the fifth-seeded team at 26th.