26th March 2016: In front of a packed house, Amsterdam delighted the home crowd as they came from a goal down in the fourth minute to beat Wimbledon 3-1 thanks to a Mirco Pruyser hat trick.
Phil Roper has given the newcomers Wimbledon an early advantage from the penalty spot after Phil Ball was felled on the baseline. Their lead only lasted a few minutes as Billy Bakker’s interchange with Pruyser saw the latter slam home.
He added another from another lovely move, Klaas Vermeulen laying into the path of Valentin Verga whose delicate lift found Pruyser free to shoot in his second. And he completed his hat trick in the second half with a mid-circle push.
Wimbledon had their moments with four corners not going to plan but, with Laurens Goedegebuure in strong form, they lacked composure from their big chances.
They will play Real Club de Polo de Barcelona in the KO8 on Monday afternoon at 2.30pm (CET) after they won the Catalan battle with Club Egara 3-0. David Alegre applied a delicate touch to Lucas Vila’s pass to open the scoring and it stayed at 1-0 for a long time before Xavi Lleonart sealed the deal.
Again, Alegre was the inspiration with a surging run through the middle before offloading to his partner in crime who finished well. Alex Casasayas completed the victory in the last ten seconds.
Harvestehuder THC and Oranje Zwart were the other teams to qualify for the KO8 thanks to their wins over Dinamo Kazan and Royal Leopold respectively, setting up a meeting between the last two champions.
HTHC’s four-goal early blitz underpinned a 5-1 win over the Russian champions. Michael Körper’s ninth minute corner started the run. Jan Heuer scored the next off the back of lovely David Goodfield skills and Leon Willemsen’s cross; Goodfield completed the third goal.
Körper slammed in his second for a 4-0 lead on the 17 minute mark to all but kill off the game. Nikolay Yankun got one back but Tim Linsmeier’s behind-the-back deflection completed the win.
For OZ, Rob van der Horst scored a stunning inidividual goal with only a couple of minutes in a 2-1 win over Royal Leopold
In a close-knit first half, Mink van der Weerden’s drag-flick was all that separated the teams with chances few and far between. He slung home a low corner into the backboard.
But a moment of inspiration from Arthur Verdussen, tearing along the left endline got the game back on terms in the second half at 1-1.
From there, the game swung from end to end before the world player of the year made his mark. Van der Horst picked up the ball 30 metres out from goal and ran at pace around three potential tacklers before lifting the ball up and over Romain Henet for a memorable goal with three minutes to go.
Sunday sees the first series of KO8 games with Atlètic Terrassa playing KHC Leuven at 12.15pm (CET) before SV Kampong take on Rot Weiss Köln at 2.30pm (CET).
On Monday, Harvestehuder THC play Oranje Zwart at 12.15pm and Amsterdam face Real Club de Polo at 2.30pm.
Image Credit: Euro Hockey League/Frank Uijlenbroek. This image may not be reproduced without the explicit permission of the EHL or the photographer.