Croatia put five past Portugal in a Eurohockey day two
Pool B - Eurohockey Championship III Men
The big match of the day on the second day of Eurohockey was to see Portugal and Croatia play.
This was a match closely followed by the Gibraltar team who hope to bid for one of the top places in their group. This would see them play one of these two sides if they too topped their group as expected.
Portugal started well but their initial push forward was only met by Croatia responding with an early goal of their own.
Croatia, very much a physical team more than willing to man mark, whilst allowing Portugal possession, were efficient in their surges forward. Looking the more likely to score.
With the first quarter finishing 1-0 in favour of Croatia Portugal were on the back foot and pressing.
This allowed Croatia space which they used well when they regained possession usually after strong pressure.
The first five minutes saw play mainly outside of Croatia’s half. The match was to go through a somewhat stale period both teams balanced and matching each other. Two very distinct styles cancelling each other out through most of the second quarter.
Portugal were unlucky not to get an equalizer with eleven minutes gone into the quarter. The ball stopped just in front of the line.
Just as Portugal had thought they had turned the tide towards a chance to equalize Croatia won a short corner with just nine seconds to half time and made no mistake making it 2-0 for halftime.
Portugal started the third quarter winning a short corner forcing a save.
Just a minute later they once again had a similar chance forcing yet another short corner but wasting it. Breaking from defense down the flank Croatia created their third goal with five minutes gone in the third quarter.
With confidence now high Croatia tried for a fourth immediately in the next play.
Portugal found themselves with their path cut off as they reached the 25 yard line. Croatia getting several more chances as they run at their opponents.
Portugal found themselves defending during the final three minutes of the quarter.
With a 3-0 lead Croatia started the final quarter much in the same way they had ended the third quarter.
Portugal tried to find a route to goal but with Croatia more than willing to run at them on the break the game was stretched across the field with gaps opening making it harder to find the numbers to break Croatia’s defense.
With five minutes left on the clock Portugal won a short corner which they saw the ball go wide off the post.
Just a minute later Portugal paid the price for sending men forward and removing their keeper. Croatia getting the chance to break and score their fourth with three minutes left.
Without a keeper and forty seconds left they faced a short corner which saw Croatia add a fifth.
Croatia ended the match winning 5-0 and topping their table with just Malta to play next.