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Europa ladies maintain unbeaten run but pushed to the last by Eagles

Pic courtesy Europa FC Ladies Hockey

Europa Ladies Hockey 1-0 Eagles Ladies
Goalscorer L.Flower

The final match of the women’s 9-a-side hockey cup should not have had much significance with Europa already having secured the title. Yet both Europa and Eagles were more than up to battling it out for the honour and bragging rights.
For Europa a victory would mean an unbeaten run, for Eagles it would mean breaking this run and securing a victory in the back of having beaten Bavaria Pinks, in a penalty shootout, just days before.
From the first ball both teams were on the offensive with two disciplined defences chasing back.
Europa had the early chances playing dangerously inside Eagles D, but met with some stern defending in the early minutes of the match.
It was Eagles who produced the first intervention by a goalkeeper as they countered. Their period of isolation due to covid cases among their team not having impaired their thirst for the game. Notably some of the players had only just been cleared after having been positive cases.
Eagles coach highlighted the intensity of the game when he expressed how he was not happy with the umpiring decisions after several balls he believed had been high off the ground should have been called highlighting how this was no friendly match.
Penned in their half for large periods of time in the first half Eagles stuck to their defensive tasks, looking for quick counters.
It’s was to be in a reverse role in counters, after Eagles had surged forward and Europa broke free from defence with three players running at the defence in a quick break that the deadlock was broken.
A sweeping move on the run ending in the first goal.
Eagles didn’t panic and stuck to their game prodding at Europa’s defence on the breaks whilst keeping to closing down in defence.
The first half was to finish 1-0 but it was still anyone’s game.
An early surge from Europa saw the Eagles come out to block with both feet with Europa player taking a nasty tumble over her which ended in controversy with no penalty given. The tumble seen by officials as the player tripping over the keeper as she jumped over her. The player had to momentarily come off and be substituted due to the knock.
There were few shouts or loud arguments from Europa whose coach questioned the umpire quietly but did not raise the tensions.
The match played in the early evening was already seeing the skies getting dark halfway through the second half. With only one set of lights available the pitch was unusually dark on one side compared to the side by the stands.
It was a tight second half in which Europa had Eagles penned back but threatening with their quick breaks.
Two consecutive short corners for Eagles saw Europa’s keeper in action with a good one hand block by the goal mouth.
Eagles maintained the pressure earning a third short corner. Europa scrambles the ball away from their goalmouth. This led to a break to the opposite end which saw Eagles keeper blocking what looked like a certain goal.
It was Europa who now exerted pressure again and earned themselves a short corner which went wayward.
The match went end to end as both sides went out on quick counters towards the latter part of the match.
Neither were to score leaving Europa with the narrowest of victories. An intense match ending in handshakes between the two and applause.

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