FIH Hockey Pro League: Belgium men’s beat Australia 5-4, Britain edge Germany 3-0

Belgium men's team defeated Australia 5-4 in a thrilling game of the FIH Hockey Pro League matches on Saturday.

London/Antwerp:  Belgium men’s team defeated Australia 5-4 in a thrilling game of the FIH Hockey Pro League, here.

In other FIH Hockey Pro League matches on Saturday, Netherlands women registered a 6-0 win over USA, who played a solid 50 minutes, but tired out towards the end conceding four goals in the final 10 minutes.

On the other hand, New Zealand stunned Argentina to take three crucial points in the relegation battle. Britain gave their home crowd a lot to cheer for as they edged Germany 3-0 in another men’s hockey match.

Belgium vs Australia 5-4 (Men’s)

A frantic opening quarter saw both teams score a goal each. Belgium opened the scoring much to the delight of the home crowd as a slip by Hayward in defence allowed Nelson Onana to pounce and score past a helpless Charter.

Australia kept a high press frequently turning over possession and were finally rewarded scoring from their 5th penalty corner of the game as Vanasch saved the initial flick by Govers, but the rebound fell to Beale who had an open goal to pass the ball into. Belgium snatched the lead back in the second quarter through a penalty corner of their own, with Stockbroekx pouncing on an initial save by Charter to bury a powerful shot into the goal.

Australia got back level in the third quarter from yet another penalty corner.The trap at the top of the circle was not clean, but Hayward collected the ball and played it to Whetton, whose shot took two deflections off Belgian sticks and went in. Australia capitalised on a Belgium yellow card to mount the pressure and force a turnover in defence and Atkin’s cross inside the circle was deflected in by Whetton in front of the goal to give the visitors their first lead.

Belgium got back level in the opening minute of the final quarter as the ball from the right fell to Arthur de Sloover at the top of the circle to the left and his vicious hit beat Charter on the near post.

With just over five minutes left in the game Australia turned over possession inside their own 23m and Onana found Arno van Dessel at the top of the circle and his thundering hit gave Charter no chance. However, Australia were not done and found another equaliser with 3 minutes left as Blake Govers deflected in a cross by Tim Brand from point blank range.

With less than two minutes left in the game Belgium again found a way to get ahead with Luypaert sending a penalty corner low to the centre that went through the legs of Charter and into the goal, in what would prove to be the decisive goal.

Britain vs Germany 3-0 (Men’s)

Britain and Germany played a highly entertaining first half creating plenty of chances on both sides. Britain opened the scoring after a trademark Wallace run into the circle almost led to a shot, but he was impeded right before he could get it away by a dangling stick of Peillat, winning Britain a penalty stroke.

Nicolas Bandurak stepped up and placed the ball perfectly into the top left corner to give Britain the lead. Germany’s best chances came via penalty corners, but while Peillat managed to put plenty of power on his shots, he was unable to hit the target on a couple of occasions as the hosts headed into the break up a goal.

Both teams struggled to convert their chances in the third quarter with some excellent defending coming to the fore, with Stadler stepping up twice on 1-on-1 chances to pull incredible saves, while Sorsby saved a definite goal from a penalty corner on the goal-line.

Britain doubled their lead in the final quarter with James Gall pouncing on a penalty corner rebound to beat Stadler in goal. Sam Ward added a third goal in the 59th minute as Britain won a penalty corner with Germany having subbed their keeper out for an additional outfield player, giving Ward an easy target to hit.

Netherlands vs USA 6-0 (Women’s)

Netherlands came racing out of the blocks early in the game, pressing high and forcing turnovers from the USA defence. They couldn’t find the target from their first two penalty corners of the opening quarter, but a third one brought the opening goal as the rebound from a save fell to Jochems, whose shot across the face of the goal was deflected in by Dicke.

Joosje Burg doubled the Dutch lead in the second quarter with a strong reverse shot from the left that was unfortunately deflected into her own goal by Sumfest.

After a tight third quarter with some excellent defence from USA, the floodgates opened in the final ten minutes as Netherlands scored four goals in eight minutes. The first of the four came through a penalty stroke scored by Renee van Laarhoven. Just 20 seconds later, a cross from the sideline came all the way through to Dicke at the far post for the easiest of tap-ins.

Veen and Fokke added a fifth and sixth as the USA defence started to tire out, giving the Dutch a big victory.

Argentina vs New Zealand 1-2 (Women’s)

After a balanced start to the opening quarter, New Zealand opened the scoring from a brilliant counter attack as Olivia Shannon brought the ball forward and played a 1-2 pass with Merry and placed the ball through the legs of the Argentinian keeper. Valentina Costa drew Argentina back level in the 20th minute, sending a drag flick from a penalty corner through the legs of two New Zealand defenders and into the goal.

New Zealand regained their lead in the final minute of the third quarter, as a brilliant penalty corner routine saw Olivia Merry send a grounded pass to the far right where a diving Hope Ralph deflected the ball into an open goal.

Argentina tried their best to get back level till the very end but found it difficult to convert their chances, specially from penalty corners, converting just one of their ten set pieces. As the time ran out New Zealand celebrated their first win in 6 matches, which gave them crucial three points in their relegation battle against USA and China.

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