Hockey World Cup: China draws against Ireland

Bhubaneswar: The contest between Ireland (WR:10) and China (WR:17) remained scoreless throughout the first two quarters. The Green Machine had the better of the two periods, showing patience in the build-up but failing to strike that killer blow in the China circle. Shane O’Donoghue went close on two occasions, while Matthew Nelson had arguably the best chance of the half when he fired a backhand effort into the side of the China goal after being forced wide by an opposition defender.

Ireland continued to pressurise the China goal, with Alan Sothern shaving the post before a dramatic final three minutes of the third period. A yellow card five-minute suspension to Ireland’s Jonathan Bell was followed by the opening goal of the match, with China being the beneficiaries. Guo Jin finished off a beautifully worked penalty corner routine with a glorious high finish that went in off the left post to give China a shock 1-0 lead. Incredibly, Ireland – still down to ten players – found the perfect response; with Sothern diving in to touch home Michael Robson’s perfect backhand pass from left field.

Shane O’Donoghue had a chance to win it with a late penalty corner drag-flick, but China goalkeeper WANG Caiyu made a fine save to ensure that his team remains unbeaten in Bhubaneswar. Even more remarkably, a win for either England or Ireland in their meeting on 7 December will put China through to the knock-out stages. The result I am very satisfied with”, said China Head Coach Kim Sang Ryul. “We are still unbeaten, but our play is not good enough so I am still not satisfied. Our mentality is that we are still trying to win. We will try to show our abilities against Australia.”

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