Thursday, August 6, 2009

EuroHockey Nation's: Relegation pool round-up

Relegation Pool: Scotland 5 (Mark Ralph 2, Kenny Bain 2, Stephen Dick) Italy 3 (Daniele Malta, William Cottam, Massimo Lanzano)
Scotland assured their place in the 2011 EuroHockey Nation’s Trophy with their 5-3 win over Italy, bouncing back from their controversial draw on Tuesday night against the Czech Republic.

In a whirlwind start, Mark Ralph netted a fifth minute penalty corner and Kenny Bain extended the lead by the 11th minute, deflecting in Niall Stott’s shot from two yards out.

Italy, despite their defensive woes, however, have shown quite an eye for goal and got back into the game from their first attack of the game when Daniele Malta robbed Graham Dunlop on the penalty spot and banged in a close-range reverse.

Ralph reasserted the two goal lead before the break from a corner but William Cottam pounced on a bouncing in the 43rd minute for 2-3.

Stephen Dick and Massimo Lanzano – his sixth of the tournament - exchanged goals to nudge the scoreboard up to 3-4 with five minutes remaining but Bain’s stylish reverse-stick effort killed the game with two minutes left.

It leaves Scotland on the precipice of taking the fifth World Cup Qualifying place.

Belarus 1 (Ivan Kisliavich) Switzerland 0
Belarus picked up their first win of the tournament to keep alive their chances of taking the last available World Cup qualifier place, beating Switzerland 1-0. The loss confines the Swiss to the third tier of European hockey in 2011.

Ivan Kisliavich scored the only goal of the game in the 40th minute with a well-placed drag-flick - taking a hefty blow in the process from the first runner.

In a free-flowing first half, both sides had chances as the Swiss dominated territory but looked vulnerable on the counter-attack. Jurka Rickli smashed a volley into Siarhei Lihor from point-blank range while Kisliavich’s auto-pass and solo snuck just wide of the post.

But he was not to be denied soon after the turnaround and his defence held on for the remaining half hour to set up an intriguing final day.

A win for Belarus over Scotland equals a WCQ place; a loss means Italy can force them into a relegation place on goal difference.

* For more pictures from Belarus vs Switzerland, click here

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