Gold medal match finalists play out gritty draw

19 January 2013

HOCKEY: The Australian Jillaroos and China played out the first draw in the Australian Youth Olympic Festival women’s hockey tournament on Saturday afternoon.

Only two goals were scored for the entire match and the final score read 1-1.

China were the better side for the majority of the first half but Australia’s Ashlea Fey, Lily Brazel and Madison Fitzpatrick were really gutsy in defence to keep the Jillaroos on level terms.

The first half looked destined to be goalless when with just seconds left on the clock Mariah Williams made a great run and played a nice ball to Jordyn Holzberger who converted the field goal to get Australia out of the half with a surprise 1-0 lead.

The second half was also very hard-fought between the two nations as neither side could add further goals to the scoreboard.

With only seven minutes left in the match China found an equaliser when they caught the Australian defence napping, a perfectly executed a lob pass down left hand side of the pitch and a pass across the goal face of goal saw captain Liang Meiyu convert the most simple of finishes.

That was how it remained for the last stages as the two countries could not be separated from the 1-1 deadlock.

“It was probably our most disappointing performance so far, I think the energy levels were a real issue for us, just the really simple things were lacking for us today,” Australian Jillaroos coach Craig Victory revealed after the game. “That needs to change going into tomorrow.”

The Chinese camp was reasonably happy with proceedings today and used the game as preparation for the gold medal match.

“They played quite well, they were one goal behind for most of the match but they didn’t give up,” China’s team manager Yuxiang Liu said post match.

“There will be some differences I’m sure, today we were testing each other, tomorrow will be a big game.”

Three days of round robin matches all comes down to Sunday as Great Britain and USA play for bronze while Australia takes on China for gold.

Beau Greenway
Olympics.com.au

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