Sunday, May 11, 2008

EHL Bronze Medal match: Egara 2 Rotterdam 2 (1-2 on penalties)

Rotterdam claimed third in the EHL with a dramatic bronze-medal match, drawing rapturous applause from all around the Schiebroek ground.

They did via a penalty one-on-one shoot-out, outscoring Egara 2-1 in the best of three competition after normal and extra time could not separate the sides.

Egara started in the ascendancy with Edouard Tubau’s exceptional skills ghosting past three defenders. His attempted one-two only found a defender but the ball came back in the desired manner for the Catalan talisman to roll home from a tight angle.

Rotterdam drew level through Sohail Abbas, netting his seventh penalty corner of the tournament to tie the game up after 25 minutes. And their set-piece skills had them in front by the break when Sjoerd Gerretsen got the slightest of deflections to a free-hit from the top of the circle.

The second half proved an end to end affair, with Rotterdam finding plenty of space to exploit as Egara pushed on in numbers. It came as a bit of a surprise when only Tubau’s tidy effort was the only half’s only goal, coming just 150 seconds in.

There was almost late drama, as Egara controlled the game’s closing minutes, firstly after Abbas miscued an overhead straight into Jordi Clapes. Clapes played in Guillermo Schickendantz but his reverse flew over.

And with 15 seconds left, Tubau’s dribbling attempted to set up one last corner but Rotterdam defended solidly.

Extra-time brought huge drama as each penalty corner could prove decisive, Abbas and Schickendantz firing one wide apiece after huge nervous build-up in the stands. Australian Peter Taylor also created two good openings from right midfield setting up Wasseem Ahmed and Jeroen Hertzberger but neither could get a finish.

As it was, it went to one of the EHL’s most exciting innovations – the one-on-one shoot-out. Hertzberger scored dribbling around Cortes on his left hand side, Schickendantz attempted the same but put it wide of Daan Vismans goal.

Wasseem scored at the second attempt to put Rotterdam 2-0 up but Ramon Alegre got his team on the board after he looked to have been clipped by Vismans but stayed up and swept the ball home.

Matthe de Jong missed Rotterdam’s third effort but the star of the game, Tubau could not move the game into sudden-death, flicking into the side-netting after being forced right.

No comments: