Bhubaneswar:Ireland and China played out an exciting 1-1 draw in a Pool B match of the Men’s Hockey World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium here Tuesday. Jin Guo (43rd) and Alan Sothern (44th) struck for China and Ireland, respectively.
The Green Machines started well with a long ball deep in the Chinese half. But no Irish players were able to latch on. China returned with a superb cross. Irish were lucky enough as no damage was done. China pressed hard again, but Irish defenders were equal to the task.
Ireland advanced down the left with long crash, but it was of no avail. China came back well and got a long corner to power their way into the Irish circle but failed to penetrate. During the last part of the first quarter Ireland went all out to break the deadlock, but two of their well-planned attacks went in vein.
Ireland continued with the momentum, but Eugene Magee almost missed a sitter. Su Jun then powered China ahead, but lost the ball near the Irish D. Finally, Ireland got a penalty corner in the 19th minute. Chinese custodian Caiyu Wang saved a flick from Shane O’ Donoghue.
China attempted to advance patiently, but Irish stole the ball. The Chinese tried to move forward after a wave of Irish attacks. Then Shimmins and Cargo beat the Chinese defence in the 25th minute, but China continued to survive as Irish attack was just wide enough. Ireland moved ahead from the right but cannot get the final pass right in the striking circle. Ireland had most of the possessions in the second quarter, but it finished barren. The Chinese just managed to keep the scoresheet blank after scores of attacks by the Green Machines.
After the change of ends China accumulated some energy to get their first penalty corner in the match in the 31st minute. But Ireland Custodian David Harte stood like a rock to avert the powerful flick from Du Talake. Matthew Nelson threatened at the other end immediately but cannot get a shot on the goal. Gleghorne had a chance to put the Irish ahead in the 34th minute, but he was not creative enough to penetrate.
In the 36th minute Michael Darling’s goal was disallowed into the net much to the dismay of a celebrating crowd as the shot was not taken from a distance of five meters. There was another heartbreak for Ireland after a minute as Sothern’s shot was just an inch wide from the Chinese citadel.
China retaliated strongly to get their second penalty corner of the match in the 43rd minute and Jin made no mistake to put China 1-0 ahead.
Irish were no push overs. Sothern restored parity just after a minute. China earned their third penalty corner in the 44th minute, but Talake’s flick was saved brilliantly by Harte. The third quarter was productive for both the teams with the scoresheet tied with 1-1.
Irish looked to build patiently and manufacture attack at the start of the final quarter. However, the Chinese managed to break into the Irish circle. With few minutes to go, Ireland earned an important penalty corner in the 56th minute, but they couldn’t capitalise on it and both the teams eventually settle for a point each.