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China claim Gold at AtaHolding Champions Challenge
17 Jun 2007 16:59

Gold Medal Match

China 2 defeated Korea 1

Goals: CHN: MA Yi Bo PC 12m, TANG Chun Ling FG 61m

KOR: Seul Ki CHEON PC 30m

China produced a superb second half performance to defeat Korea in the final of the AtaHolding Champions Challenge. TANG Chun Ling scored the winning goal for her country, and in the process guaranteed China's place in the 2008 Champions Trophy competition.

Korea dominated the early stages of the first half, putting together some excellent attacks. Mi Seon KIM almost gave Korea the lead in the 8th minute, but found her shot well blocked after going past the goalkeeper. However, it was China who took the lead in the 12th minute, when MA Yi Bo took full advantage of her team’s first penalty corner, drag-flicking low into the bottom left corner. Korea were not deterred though, continuing their search for an equaliser. Eventually it came from tournament top scorer Seul Ki CHEON, who flicked her penalty corner high into the roof of the goal in the 30th minute. Korea were ecstatic, and it was no more than they deserved.

China came out looking the strongest team in the second half, playing much higher up the pitch to force the Koreans deep into their own half. China’s SONG Qing Ling received a yellow card, but it did not stop her side from attacking. The winning goal eventually came from TANG Chun Ling’s 61st minute strike. GAO Li Hua was the architect of the goal, showing brilliance down the right. China nearly had a third when FU Bao Rong picked up the ball with only Korea keeper Ju Young LIM to beat, but stumbled at the key moment. However, China were rarely threatened in the last few minutes, securing the Gold medal and Champions Trophy qualification.

3rd/4th play-off

England 2 defeated USA 1

Goals: ENG: Cathy GILLIAT-SMITH FG 39m, Rachel WALKER FG 43m


England claimed Bronze in Baku, thanks to a good win against the USA, coming back from a goal down to take the victory and third place in the tournament.

England started the game impressively, and dominated much of the opening 20 minutes by putting the USA under pressure in defence and winning penalty corners. England almost opened the scoring through Hannah MACLEOD, when she cut inside her marker and fired a shot against the post. However, England could not get the breakthrough that they so desperately searched for, and the USA grew in confidence. It was the USA who opened the scoring just 1 minute into the second half. England keeper Katy ROBERTS could only half clear a USA penalty corner strike, and Dana SENSENIG slapped the ball into the net. England were level just three minutes later, when Chloe ROGERS sent a brilliant pass into the danger area from the right, with Cathy GILLIAT-SMITH getting the all important touch to guide it into the goal. England’s winner came in the 43rd minute from the stick of Rachel WALKER, who tapped into an open goal following good build-up play. USA came back strong late in the second half, but England were solid in defence and blocked out the threat.

5th/6th play-off

New Zealand 3 defeated Azerbaijan 3 (4:3 After Extra Time)

Goals: AZE: Marina ALIYEVA PC 6m, Liana NURIYEVA FG 29m, Zarifahon ZEYNALOVA FG 43m

NZL: Caryn PAEWAI PC 54m, Kate SAUNDERS (PC 63m, PC 65m, PC 80m – Golden Goal)

A hat trick of penalty corners from Kate SAUNDERS helped New Zealand come back from 3:0 down to defeat Azerbaijan in the 5th / 6th place play-off, condemning the host nation to last place in the tournament.

Azerbaijan played undoubtedly their best hockey of the tournament, and found themselves 2:0 up at half time. Marina ALIEVA scored the first from a good penalty corner routine, with Liana NURIYEVA being credited with the second although the decisive touch came from the boot of a New Zealand defender. New Zealand started the second half keen to pull themselves out of trouble, but it was Azerbaijan who established a 3:0 lead when Zarifahon ZEYNALOVA tapped into an open goal following an outstanding run from Zeynab NURIYEVA down the right. It seemed as though there was no way back for the Black Sticks, but a penalty corner deflection from Caryn PAEWAI gave New Zealand hope. It proved to be the boost that they needed, and soon moved to within a goal of Azerbaijan thanks to an outstanding penalty corner strike from Kate SAUNDERS in the 65th minute. It was SAUNDERS who got the equaliser just two minutes later, smashing just inside the left post from the top of the circle. SAUNDERS completed her hat trick in the second period of extra time with another powerful penalty corner strike, securing 5th place for New Zealand.

Individual Player Awards

HIGHEST SCORER: Seul Ki CHEON (KOR) - 6 goals.

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