Hockey World Cup: Aussies register narrow 2-1 win v Ireland; China hold England 2-2

Dec 01, 2018, 08:10 IST | Ashwin Ferro

China's Xiaoping Guo scored a field goal in the fifth minute after which England's Mark Gleghorne made it 1-1 in the 14th

Hockey World Cup: Aussies register narrow 2-1 win v Ireland; China hold England 2-2
Oz goal-scorer Blake Govers (left) in action v Ireland. Pic/Getty Images

World No. 1 Australia were quietly confident as they began their World Cup campaign here with a 2-1 win over Ireland in a league match. The Irish may have rattled the Aussies in parts but the defending champions looked good for extended periods, even stamping their class on the game occasionally, like during the first goal.

Blake Govers stepped up to take their first penalty corner in the 10th minute but just as the ball was injected, he swapped places with Jeremy Hayward, who was standing right next to him, leaving the Irish defence stunned by the move. Hayward flicked hard and the ball struck an Irish foot, resulting in a second penalty corner. This time, Govers didn't swap places and took the drag flick himself beating Irish goalkeeper David Harte all ends up.

Two minutes later, Ireland equalised though a Shane O'Donoghue field goal. But the Aussies had the last laugh, as Tim Brand got the winner in the 39th minute. The World No. 10 Irish felt they were unfortunate to lose by a goal to the mighty Australians. "It was 1-2, so a close match but the crowd was lovely. They were cheering for us all through and that was a fantastic experience for us," said Ireland's teen forward Matthew Nelson, 19.

Ireland also have No. 7 England and No. 17 China in their group. "Hopefully, we can get the win against China next [to qualify for the crossovers]," said Nelson, who was
playing his landmark 50th international for his country. However, that won't be easy going by the manner in which China held England 2-2 moments after the Ireland-Australia clash.

China's Xiaoping Guo scored a field goal in the fifth minute after which England's Mark Gleghorne made it 1-1 in the 14th. England then went 2-1 up when Liam Liam Ansell scored a field goal and seemed headed for a hardfought win before China's Talake Du spoiled their party with a last-minute penalty corner equaliser.

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