South Korea 0 vs. 1 Italy
8.15 push back
This game was delayed after the heavy rains in the previous match. The Italian fans seem to be in good spirits. If Italy get at least a draw tonight it will be the first time that they have ever gotten out of the group stage of a major international hockey tournament. In the fifth minute, we see a short corner awarded for Italy, after a Korean player doesn’t retreat far enough back for an Italian free hit. The Italians set up for a short corner and play a trick pass to captain Chiara Tiddi, but the keeper planks and it’s a save. Two minutes later, a deflected shot from Elisabetta Pacella, sees the Korean goalkeeper, Sora Bae, have to make another save.
Elisabetta Pacella, has been the best player for Italy, in this quarter, with some decent stick skills and a want to go forward. Just before the break, Valentina Braconi is shown a green card. As the hooter goes, the game is goaless.
At the start of the second period Korea have possession of the ball, with Italy performing a half court press, with the intention to counter attack. Maria Socino gives this a go, but the move breaks down. Both teams are struggling to find that killer pass.
Eight minutes have been played of the second quarter. A crashed ball to South Korea’s Seul Ki Cheon, looks like a potential opening goal, but the pass is too much of a stretch for her and Martina Chirico deals with it easily. The attackers for both teams, look quick and pacey, but lack that X-Factor, the little extra bit of skill that can create space for themselves, or get past the oppositions defender.
Two minutes are remaining of the first half and Italy win a sideline ball high up the pitch after an unforced error from the Koreans. Italy try to exploit this and Dalila Mirabella crashes a ball in from an angle on the left, but the Koreans block the route to goal and win the ball back.
0 – 0 at half time
A minute into the second half, the Italian keeper is forced to kick the ball clear at her near post, as the Koreans get to the baseline to her left. South Korea have come out with a point to prove after the result of the dutch game, sensing that they could get a win here and their first points so far. The Chinese refer on three minutes for a bad tackle on their forward from the Italian defence, but there is no clear reason to give the Koreans a short corner and they will not get the chance to appeal again.
Korea regain possession shortly afterwards and a pass into the circle is left by the Italian keeper, Chirico, but rebounds back off of the far post and into play, causing a bit of panic in the defence. Another pass across Italy’s goal sees Mi Hyun Park pick up the ball at the left hand post, but a bad trap means that she can’t take advantage of the position she’s found her self in and the move breaks down.
Eight minutes of the third quarter have been played. Italy’s Lara Oviedo plays a one two with her team mate up front, looks to spin her defender and wins a foul. Unfortunately the Italians can’t keep their attack moving forward as the Korean defence has had the time to re-organise and repel the attack. Three minutes later, Eugenioa Mastronardi mistraps a run of the mill interception in front of her own goal, forces her team mate behind her to improvise and move the ball out to the left.
In the 13th minute Hyejin Cho misses a chance at the back post, after the defender in front of her allows the ball to go past her. How many chances do Korea need? 30 seconds later Korea win a short corner for rough play. Jang slips to Cho, who slaps the shot, but the keeper turns it behind the goal. 16 seconds left and Italy win their second short corner of the game. They try for a deflection at the right post, but the defender there cuts it out.
The fourth quarter begins and we still haven’t seen a goal. In the third minute South Korea win a short corner for a foot in the circle. It’s a straight shot from Yun Kyoung Cho and saved strongly by the Italian keeper.
12 minutes have been played and Park takes a good shot from a tight angle. It was never going in though and the Italian keeps has her near post covered.
With 45 seconds left of the game Marcela Casale has the chance to win it for the Italians, but puts her shot wide. Italy think that this is their chance gone, but with five seconds remaining and the last attack of the game Valentina Braconi pops up at the back post to win it. The crowd goes wild and they are now through to the next round with six points, from two games. The final score is Italy 1 – 0 China.