Women’s Champions Challenge II – Day 4: India and Belgium have battled their way into the tournament Final of the Women’s Champions Challenge II tournament in Kazan, Russia. India were given a stern test by Ukraine before coming through to win 2-1, while Belgium produced a brilliant performance to claim a 3-1 victory over Ireland, the winners of Pool B. Interestingly, India defeated Belgium 5-3 in the opening game of the tournament, but Belgium have dramatically improved since that fixture, setting up a potentially thrilling climax to the event. Losing Semi Finalists Ukraine and Ireland will now face each other in the match for 3rd place. In the 5-8 Classification Matches, Belarus and Canada claimed victories over Russia and Malaysia respectively to set up a meeting in the 5th place Play-Off.
India were the first team to book their place in the tournament Final thanks to a hard fought victory over Ukraine. India’s incredibly dangerous forward line needed just six minutes to open the scoring thanks to a Rani RAMPAL field goal, before Saba ANJUM made the score 2-0 in the 23rd minute of the match. Ukraine battled hard and pulled a goal back nine minutes into the second half, but India held on for victory. Belgium joined India in the tournament Final with a 3-1 win over Ireland, with all the goals coming from penalty corners. Things looked bleak for Belgium when they conceded a tenth minute penalty corner from Ireland’s Shirley McCAY, but strikes from Jill BOON, Dorianne MEUWESE and Erica COPPEY gave Belgium a thrilling triumph.
Earlier in the day, the 5-8 classification matches took place with Belarus and Canada both recording victories. Belarus striker Volha SHYNTAR produced a captain’s performance as her team defeated Russia 2-1. SHYNTAR scored a field goal in the ninth minute of extra time to settle the contest after the two sides could not be separated in normal time. The result secured Belarus a place in the 5-6 Play-Off match, and condemned the host nation to the match for 7th place. Belarus’ opponents in tomorrow’s 5-6 Play Off match would be Canada, who defeated Malaysia on penalty strokes. After both normal and extra time finished scoreless, the two sides were forced into a penalty shoot-out, with Canada eventually winning 4-3 in “Sudden Death” to keep alive their chances of a 5th place finish in the tournament.
Full reports of the matches along with scoring information can be found below.
Saturday is the final day of the tournament, with the action beginning at 10:00 when Russia and Malaysia take to the field in a bid to avoid finishing in last place. That match is followed by the fight for 5th place, with Belarus versus Canada starting at 12:30. The 3-4 Play-Off takes place at 15:30, with Ukraine and Ireland aiming to end their tournament on a high. India and Belgium will contest the Final of the Women’s Champions Challenge II at 18:00, with a place in the 2021 Champions Challenge I going to the winning team.
You can find Pool Tables and official Match reports on the Champions Challenge II page of this website. To visit this page, click here.
DAY 3 REPORTS
Match 13: Belarus 2 defeated Russia 1
Belarus Captain Volha SHYNTAR became the heroine of the team when she scored an extra time winner to defeat Russia 2-1. SHYNTAR’s field goal proved to be the difference as the two teams could not be separated in normal time, securing Belarus a place in the 5-6 Play-Off match. For Russia, the defeat condemned the host nation to the 7-8th place Play-Off match, which takes place 10:00 (GMT+3) tomorrow morning.
The match was a cagy affair for the majority of the game, with chances for either team few and far between. Russia saw their chances of victory increase when Belarus captain Volha SHYNTAR was given a Yellow Card for a deliberate stick check, but the host nation could not take advantage of having an extra player on the field. In the 47th minute, Belarus were again reduced to ten players when Iryna KAZACHOK was given a Yellow Card for deliberately breaking down play, but again Russia saw their attempts to crack the Belarus defence thwarted. With the game nearing its end, extra time seemed inevitable. However, Belarus scored what looked certain to be the winning goal when Maryia KORZH-TSEPUN found the target in the 69th minute with a well-taken penalty corner, triggering wild celebrations amongst her team-mates. To their credit, Russia refused to believe that the match was over and went in search of an equaliser. It arrived with less than 30 seconds left to play when Margarita DREPENKINA fired in a field goal to level the scores and force extra time. The match winning goal arrived nine minutes into extra time, when Volha SHYNTAR cracked in an open play strike to give Belarus a place in tomorrow’s 5-6 place Play-Off match.
Match 14: Canada defeated Malaysia 4-3 (After Penalty Stokes)
Canada’s improved form in the Women’s Champions Challenge continued with a victory over Malaysia – their first win of the tournament. The match finished 0-0 at the end of both normal time and extra time, forcing a penalty shoot out to decide which team would reach the 5-6 Play-Off match, with Canada triumphing 4-3 in Sudden Death.
The match itself was a tight and closely fought contest with very few clear goal scoring opportunities for either team. With no goals at the end of normal time, the match entered extra time but the sides still could not be separated. The match itself may have lacked drama and excitement, but the penalty shoot-out was packed with both. Both teams managed to score only once out of their first five penalty strokes, with Stephanie JAMESON scoring her side’s second attempt before Siti Noor ROHANI tied the scores with her team’s fourth penalty. After five penalties each and still no winner of this contest, Sudden Death penalty strokes were brought into play. Both ROHANI and JAMESON converted once again before Malaysia captain Nadia ABD RAHMAN and Diana ROEMER achieved what they had failed to do in the first round of penalties by successfully hitting the target. The third round of Sudden Death penalties proved to be decisive in giving Canada victory. Malaysia’s Siti Sarah ISMAIL bravely stepped up to the mark but did not score, and Canadian captain Stephanie NESBITT slammed her effort into the goal to seal her side’s place in the contest for 5th place.
Match 15: India 2 defeated Ukraine 1
The first of the 1-4 Classification matches saw free-scoring India take on the impressive Ukraine. India went into the contest having a 100% tournament win record with the team scoring 18 goals in just three Pool matches. They were clear favourites, but Ukraine were also unbeaten in the tournament and had actually conceded fewer goals than their opponents going into what was likely to be a close contest.
Despite Ukraine’s impressive defensive statistics, India’s potent attacking threat did not take long to find a break through. The game’s opening goal was scored by Rani RAMPAL, who found the back of the net from open play after just six minutes. India could have added to their total, but excellent defensive work from Ukraine kept their opponents at bay until the 23rd minute, when Saba ANJUM registered her fourth field goal of the tournament to give her side a 2:0 lead. Everything seemed to be going very smoothly for India, who were certainly the better team in the first half. However, Ukraine were not without their chances, and gave India a few moments of concern as the half neared its end. Inspired by some words of wisdom from coach Svitlana MAKAIEVA, Ukraine came out fighting in the second half, determined to pull themselves back into the game. Ukraine pulled a goal back in the 44th minute when Nataliya VASYUKOVA fired home to make the score 2-1, giving her side the belief that they were capable of producing a memorable comeback. Despite Ukrainian efforts, India controlled long periods of the second half and ensured that their opponent’s chances were limited. India were worthy winners, and now begin their preparations for Sunday’s tournament Final.
Match 16: Belgium 3 defeated Ireland 1
Belgium joined India in the Final of the Women’s Champions Challenge II thanks to a 3-1 win over Ireland, with all the goals coming from penalty corners. Having impressed in Pool B, Ireland were considered favourites by most coming into the match, but Belgium produced an excellent display to set up a re-match with an India team that comprehensively defeated them in the first match of the tournament.
Things looked bleak for Belgium when they fell behind after just ten minutes, with Ireland’s Shirley McCAY firing in a penalty corner. Ireland have been an incredibly tough team to score against in this tournament, but Belgium did not let that fact get in the way of their Champios Challenge II ambitions and quickly found an equalizer thanks to a 13th minute penalty corner from Jill BOON. Eleven minutes later, Belgium moved into the lead when Dorianne MEUWESE added a penalty corner of her own. On the stroke of half time, Ireland goal-scorer McCAY was given a Yellow Card for stopping a ball above the height of her shoulder. Subsequently Ireland began the second half with only ten players on the field, allowing Belgium to gain momentum in their quest for victory. In the 44th minute, Belgium’s killer blow arrived when Erica COPPEY converted a penalty corner to give her side a 3-1 lead. Ireland were unable to find the goals they needed to get back into the match thanks to some strong defending from Belgium, who ensured that it would be themselves and not Ireland who would be facing India in Sunday's tournament Final.
Women’s Champions Challenge II Day 4: Scores and Scorers
Match 13 – 5-8 – Belarus v Russia 2-1 AET (0-0 HT)
1-0 BLR Maryia KORZH-TSEPUN PC 69m
1-1 RUS Margarita DREPENKINA FG 70m
2-1 BLR Volha SHYNTAR FG 79m (extra time)
Match 14 – 5-8 – Malaysia v Canada 0-0 (0-0)
Canada won 4-3 After Penalty Strokes
Match 15 – 1-4 – India v Ukraine 2-1 (2-0)
1-0 IND Rani RAMPAL FG 6m
2-0 IND Saba ANJUM FG 23m
2-1 UKR Nataliya VASYUKOVA FG 44m
Match 16 – 1-4 – Ireland v Belgium 1-3 (1-2)
1-0 IRL Shirley McKAY PC 10m
1-1 BEL Jill BOON PC 13m
1-2 BEL Dorianne MEUWESE PC 24m
1-3 BEL Erica COPPEY PC 44m