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  Hockey MWC: Australia post win; China stun England
BHUBANESWAR,30 Nov 2018 (Team Orisports)

World No 1 Australia made a winning start to their title defence in the 14th Hockey Men’s World Cup, edging out World No 10 Ireland 2-1, while debutants China (World No 17) claimed a stunning 2-2 draw against England (World Rank 7) in the first two Pool-B matches here at Kalinga Hockey Stadium today.

The Australia versus Ireland match was a fascinating encounter with the Green Machine producing a fine performance against the defending champions. Australia took a 1-0 lead when Blake Govers launched a powerful penalty corner drag-flick beyond Ireland goalkeeper David Harte 11 minutes into the game. But the lead proved to be short-lived. Ireland stunned the Kookaburras in the second period when a high-quality attack was finished beautifully by Shane O’Donoghue, who produced terrific 3D skills to find a way past Aussie shot-stopper Andrew Charter.


Australia marked the start of the third quarter in style, with Corey Weyer’s stunning, defence-splitting pass from midfield being finished at the second attempt by Player of the Match Tim Brand, who had shown incredible athleticism to join the attack from defence. It proved to be the decisive blow, with Australia showing all of their class to control the latter stages of the match and get their title defence off to a winning start.

The second match sprang a surprise as China took the lead against a nation that has finished fourth in the two most recent editions of the World Cup. Guo Xiaoping showed superb skills along the backline before flicking above right arm the onrushing George Pinner and into the goal just five minutes into the contest. England responded well with Mark Gleghorne’s 14th minute penalty corner drag-flick levelling the scores after a strong passage of play from the Europeans.

Two goal-less quarters followed, leaving China 15 minutes away from claiming the most surprising result of the competition so far. That all changed in the 48th minute when Liam Ansell stole possession from a China defender before unleashing a stunning backhand strike into bottom corner to give England a 2-1 lead.

However, there was to be one final twist in the tale. With less than two minutes remaining, China scored a dramatic equaliser thanks to a powerful penalty corner drag-flick from Du Talake, whose effort found a way into the England goal to give the competition’s second lowest ranked team a terrific point in their first ever World Cup match.


Nov 30 (Match No 5, Pool-B):
Australia (Blake Govers 11-PC, Tim Brand 34-GF) beat Ireland (Shane O’Donoghue 13-FG) 2-1. PoM: Tim Brand.

Nov 30 (Match No 6, Pool-B): China (Guo Xiaoping 5-FG, Du Talake 59-PC) drew with England (Mark Gleghorne 14-PC, Liam Ansell 48-FG) 2-1. PoM: Du Talake.
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TOP: Chinese defender Du Talake in action against England on Nov 30, 2018.
RIGHT: Action from the Australia-Ireland Pool B match on Nov 30, 2018.


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