Saturday, May 10, 2008

EHL semi-final: Uhlenhorster v Egara

Uhlenhorster justified their installment as Maurits Hendricks pre-finals favourites for the EuroHockey League as they recovered from a 2-0 deficit against Egara in scintillating style.

And despite trailing for over 40 minutes of their semi-final tie, the German side dominated the game, bossing possession and racking up a corner count of 5-1.

But Egara – the conquerors of Pembroke 3-2 in the opening round – made the best of the scraps with a stunning counter-attack goal. It came from an Uhlenhorst penalty corner breakdown which Ramon Alegre released quickly, feeding Schickendantz and two passes later, David Alegre was through one-on-one. He seemed to have lost the chance initially, after a slip but got back to his feet to bang the ball in an incredible strike from the end-line under Johannes Blank.

UHC came back at them immediately, with four first-half corners, with the best chance being saved off the line by Jordi Clapes and then produced a full-length dive to clear away from the rebounding Sunkel.

It seemed only a matter of time before the Germans equalised with fast and fiery attacks from Moritz Furste and Carlos Nevado causing all manner of problems, backed up by Philip Witte’s stylish 3D skills.

They were stung, once again, though, early in the second half when Albert Casas drive – following an initial incision by Edouard Tubau – was nurdled in from close range by Frank Dinares.

Egara, though, were unable to hold out much longer and, despite Cortes’ outstanding keeping and Alegre’s sweeping, the game was back on with 23 minutes remaining when a soft corner concession allowed Patrick Breitenstein to drag home.

Tempers frayed, Ramon Romeu was sin-binned and UHC took control. Jonas Furste leveled matters deflected Moritz Falcke’s sideline ball in from the ensuing play.

And with Romeu just completing his sentence, Christoph Amend, fortuitously lobbed the ball over Cortes to take the lead.

Within a minute, it was 4-2 with Breitenstein netting a contentious penalty stroke, after Felix Oldhafer latched onto a searching overhead – with seven minutes remaining there were few defenders at home.

And Benjamin Kopp sealed the win with beautifully crafted free-in – it was swept left for a first time deflection into Kopp’s path who finished clinically from three yards.

Egara huffed and puffed but ultimately could not stop the German juggernaut, aided by an outstanding “Wir sind blau?” support.

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