Pool D: Atletic Terrassa 4 (M Torrente, M Salles, O Malgosa, S Cortes) Dinamo Kazan 4 (A Kornilov 2, D Komarov, N Yankun)
Sam Cortes snatched a dramatic late equaliser to keep Atletic Terrassa in the hunt of winning a ticket to the EHL KO16, coming back from 4-2 down to tie 4-4.
Atletic went into the tie as the fancied team and took the lead following a lovely break through the middle, Marc Torrente applying a deft flick to lift the ball up and over Marat Gafarov.
But Dinamo Kazan fought back and swapped the lead with Aleksander Korolev making a brilliant run down the right before laying up to Nikolay Komarov to deflect home.
The Russian side took the lead in the 18th minute when Anton Kornilov took in a pass from Andrey Isaev and coolly slotted a shot under Marc Calzada. Marc Salles gobbled up a rebound to make it 2-2 but Kazan went in ahead at half-time via Nikolay Yankun’s dramatic high drag-flick into the top corner.
Indeed, the Russia side almost went further ahead when they hit the post just before half-time.
And Kornilov gave them an even bigger advantage soon in the 44th minute when he latched onto Komarov’s pass from the right side of the circle, flicking in from close range.
Oriol Malgosa got one back with six minutes to go in messy style, picking up a rebound after Dani Malgosa had hit the post. It set up a dramatic closing few minutes with the tension heightening when Jan Malgosa became the next player to hit the post.
Kazan had their share of nervy moments and were left distraught in the last minute when Cortes’s shot again hit the post but this time, the luck went his way as the ball bounced back in off Gafarov’s foot.
The result means Atletic can advance if they beat Bromac Kelburne on Sunday while the Scottish team need a draw from that game to go through.
For the Spanish side, it was yet another amazing fightback after their heroics in the EHL last season.
“It’s our spirit! It was difficult because we were behind all the time and they are good defenders with their indoor style. In close quarters, they are very good and we had to fight against that. We got the draw and tomorrow we now only need a win [and not extra goals].”
Pool B: UHC Hamburg 12 (P Schmid 2, P Kohl 2, L Katterbach 2, T Tescke 2, L Harms, C Alt, O Korn) SG Amsicora ASD 1 (G Carta)
UHC Hamburg’s young charges showed a clean pair of heels to Italy’s SG Amsicora ASD to put them in pole position to advance from Pool B of EHL ROUND1.
The German side chose to rest both Mortiz Fuerste and goalkeeper Nicolas Jacobi but showed few nerves in stepping up to the mark. Leopold Harms and Lukas Katterbach gave them a 2-0 advantage by the end of the first quarter and they barely looked back.
Further field goals from Carl Alt, Peter Kohl and Oli Korn – providing the experience alongside Jan-Philipp Rabente – stretched the advantage to 5-0 at half-time.
Philip Schmid’s twin corners made it seven before Kohl got his second with a low bullet. Rabente got the ninth with a cracking backhand shot. Tino Teschke made it double figures before Amsicora drew the biggest cheer of the day when they won a penalty stroke which Giaime Carta converted. Katterbach and Teschke completed the victory.
SG Amsicora bow out of the competition in third place in the pool while UHC now need just a draw against Cardiff & Met to advance to the KO16.
Pool C: Banbridge 2 (J McKee, D Ward) Saint Germain 0
Banbridge produced a composed defensive performance to see off Saint Germain to the delight of the home crowd at Havelock Park.
It means they need just a draw on Sunday against Royal Leopold to reach the KO16 phase of the competition for the first time.
They got off to a great start with Jonny McKee going close on two occasions before breaking the deadlock when Owen Magee robbed the ball on the left flank and returned it to the centre. McKee was under pressure but showed enough strength to spin the ball into the goal.
Bann’s press was yielding dividends, putting the French side under pressure and earning good counter-attack chances. And they doubled their advantage with the big break closing in, Fraser Mills taking on a long corner and firing across goal with Dane Ward tipping in at the back post.
The second half saw Saint Germain fight back, making numerous good chances with Martin Genestet hitting the post while Gareth Lennox kept out three corners in a row.
Matthew Bell was the crucial defender for Bann who held on to the end, keeping out every chance to record a famous victory.
Speaking afterwards, Banbridge coach Mark Tumilty was thrilled with his side’s efforts.
“I think we deserved it. Gareth [Lennox] made a few good saves but all in all I was pleased with how we managed the game and controlled it. Delighted.
“The crowd has been fantastic, the set-up has been fantastic and so the nerves were a concern before the match but the guys dealt with it. It gives us a great opportunity for tomorrow and that was the objective. For Irish ranking points, hopefully it also will do enough to keep two places in the EHL for next year.
“Some of the kids like Jake Rowe and Kyle Marshall to produce the hockey that they did along with Matthew Bell and Jonny McKee, it was outstanding. An excellent squad performance.
On facing Royal Leopold on Sunday: “2,500 people behind us tomorrow, anything can happen!”
Pool A: SV Kampong 2 (S de Wijn 2) Holcombe 1 (S Ward)
Sander de Wijn’s second half double saw reigning champions SV Kampong overcome a first half deficit that could have seen them eliminated, bouncing back to win 2-1 against Holcombe.
Speaking about the win, the Dutch star said: “We knew it would be really tough and they have an excellent team with a lot of star players. We made it difficult for ourselves, especially in the first quarters, missing a lot of opportunities before they got a lucky 1-0.
“From there, it was really tough but today I was the lucky one to get the two goals to make a difference. Tomorrow another battle and another win and back to the KO16.
The English side were forced to absorb a huge amount of pressure throughout the tie but they were the side to draw first blood. Sam Ward pounced on a loose ball after a Dan Fox crash ball fell to Nick Bandurak whose shot was saved into the striker’s path.
And the English side held that lead through to the half-time break with a determined defensive effort with Dan Fox underpinning things. Plenty more chances came and went for the Dutch side before they eventually got on the board, a corner shot breaking to Sander de Wijn off a George Pinner save and he nudged home the rebound.
Holcombe, knowing a win would see them advance, advanced in the final quarter and created some of their own openings with Barry Middleton to the fore. But it was de Wijn once more who stole the show when a long corner was worked his way. He peeled off to the left and unleashed a vicious backhand shot to win the day.
And he added that he really enjoyed the occasion: “There was a much bigger crowd than I expected. I hope a lot of people are here for Davey [Harte] because he is one of the best and he deserves it. It’s nice to play to such a good event.”
David Harte was required to pull off a last ditch save to secure the result and, speaking afterwards, he said his side stayed calm despite the tricky circumstances.
“For us, it was about having patience,” he said afterward. “As each quarter went on, we got stronger with more corners and possession. Sometimes those stats don’t win you games but it was great to get the win and a huge complement to how we played.”
Asked about what it was like to play a match in Ireland for the first time since the Olympics, he added: “It’s incredible. I didn’t know what to expect. I had seen photos and videos and heard Banbridge had done a brilliant job of hosting the Irish finals before.
“This is a larger scale and everything we have seen is so positive. The fans, the crowd! To go out in front of a sort of home crowd in the EHL for the first time, it’s a lovely feeling!”
To go through to the KO16, Kampong must now draw or beat AZS AWF Poznan but anything else could see Holcombe take the spot.