Saturday, July 11, 2009

Champion's Challenge II: 5th-8th playoffs

5th-8th place playoffs: Russia 2 (Alexander Likov, Alexandre Platonov) Chile 1 (Thomas Kannegiesser)Russia’s greater proficiency in both circles proved the vital factor as Chile created much but threatened little except in the closing four minutes.

Alexander Likov’s 14th minute reverse-stick effort was the sole highlight of the first half as the South American side let four penalty corners slip through their fingers.

Their fifth and sixth corners were comfortably dealt with by Roman Rogov just after the break, too, before Chile goalkeeper Mauro Scaff produced the save of the day.

Diving the opposite direction, he got a strong glove to Sergey Kostarev’s point-blank deflection from the Russian’s first corner of the game in the 44th minute.

And with Alexis Berzcely in the sin-bin, Russia began to turn the screw, winning three corners. The game-winning goal eventually came with seven minutes to go from a pitch-length move.

Felipe Montegu appeared to be heftily fouled but no free ensued. A superb break-out ended with skipper Alexandre Platonov and Alexey Mamoshkin exchanging three passes to round Scaff, the former roll into the open net.

Chile pulled one back with two minutes to left - Thomas Kanegiesser snapping up at the third attempt from Sebastian Kapsch’s wriggle down the left touch-line.

And they had a chance to force extra-time seconds later from their seventh corner but - after a lengthy discussion at the top of the circle - the move broke down at the switch phase.

Russia, therefore, qualify for Sunday's 5th place playoff against Japan while Chile play Austria for the 7th place ranking points.

Japan 4 (Ryuji Furusato, Yoshihiro Anai, Genki Mitani 2)Austria 2 (Benjamin Stanzl, Wolfgang Laminger)
Japan qualified for the fifth place play-off, taking the spoils from a lively opener to the fourth day of the Champion’s Challenge II in Belfield.

Benji Stanzl broke the deadlock from Austria’s second serious break-out of the day in the 18th minute, bashing home first time Michael Korper’s right wing pull-back.

Japan, though, turned the game on its head with two goals in two minutes when Ryuji Fukushiro deflected in a well-worked auto-pass move and Yoshihiro Anai spectacularly clattered in a bouncing backhand shot after his initial drag-flick was blocked down.

The lead was extended out to 4-1 in the second half thanks to Genki Mitani’s double strike from close range - the second showing a neat first touch to escape goalkeeper Lukas Graser and roll into the ensuing open goal.

Wolfgang Laminger cut through the centre to the Japanese defence for a consolation, though Japan should have concluded the game with a three-goal advantage when a beautifully worked corner found only Ryuji Furusato’s foot mere inches from the goal.

* Live streaming of the games will be available online at throughout the day.

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