Ireland rue indiscipline but garner Korean draw; Malaysia top the pool overnight

Olympic Qualifying Tournament – day three
Ireland 1 (David Ames) Korea 1 (Hyun Woo Nam)

Paul Revington lamented Ireland’s indiscipline but a draw with world number six Korea was far from disastrous on day three of the Olympic qualifying tournament in Belfield.

His side endured five sin-binnings throughout as David Ames’ first half goal was cancelled out in the second half by Hyun Woo Nam’s low penalty corner after the break.

Though the result defied the world rankings – Ireland are 16th in the world – Revington said there was room for improvement:

“That we managed to salvage a point from an average performance is something that says a lot about the group. We’ve a lot of assessment and analysis to do after this game before Chile,” he said

“At this level, to play a side like Korea for 18 to 20 minutes with a player down, to try and get rhythm is very difficult. We were our own worst enemy at times.”

It was more than nervy in the early phases, skipper Ronan Gormley and Paul Gleghorne making slips which invited the Koreans into the game in a fraught opening period.

This was compounded by Ames’ first sin-binning inside two minutes while Andy McConnell was harshly shown yellow. Jong Bok Cha was also sent to the naughty chair for a lunge on John Jermyn. It allowed Ireland to settle and Jermyn and Peter Caruth both hit the post within a matter of seconds from the first penalty corner of the game.

From Ireland’s second set piece, a superbly worked switch move was flicked goalward by Timmy Cockram and the returning Ames slid in to deflect over Myung Ho Lee for a 28th minute advantage.

Eugene Magee – perhaps Ireland’s most solid performer – won the corner with a sharp drive from a five-metre free after Ian Sloan was unceremoniously felled. Magee also sliced through once more down the right as Ireland enjoyed their best period before the break

Korea, though, bossed the second period as Ireland’s rough-housing and dissent cost them as Mikey Watt, Sloan and Ames again all took enforced rests. The Asian side were picking off plenty of ball just in front of their back four, cutting Ireland’s supply lines at source.

Hyun Woo Nam continued his corner form in the tournament to nail his side’s third of the second half. It was part of an onslaught but, for all the pressure, the Asian side – with three survivors from the 2004 Olympic final – struggled for ideas in front of goal, resorting to crash balls with few men on the receiving end.

One such ball cracked Conor Harte on the head, an incident which saw him hastily taken to hospital and is a major doubt for the rest of the tournament. He was stretchered off but, on Wednesday morning, was said to be recovering well.

But Ireland withstood the challenge well with David Harte mopping up the scraps while Gleghorne continued his fine partnership with Conor Harte in keeping Korea’s intricate circle play under wraps.

Sloan almost produced a truly astonishing goal from Ireland’s best move of the second half, racing down the right-wing and then the baseline before lobbing over the goalkeeper but just too high.

There was almost late disaster as a last minute intercept found Nam Yong Lee but he snatched at the chance from the top of the D, ballooning over the bar into the grateful children’s stands – boisterously vocal throughout.

Malaysia top the group after day three following a 5-1 win over Ukraine but have both contenders Korea and Ireland still to play. It means there is no fast lane through to Sunday’s final but fate is still in Irish hands. Wins over Chile on Thursday and in Saturday’s crunch game against Malaysia will guarantee a play-off for the one London berth on offer.

Ireland: D Harte, J Jackson, R Gormley, M Watt, E Magee, A McConnell, I Sloan, M Darling, D Ames, P Gleghorne, C Harte
Subs: G McCabe, J Jermyn, P Caruth, T Cockram, S Loughrey

Korea: M-H Lee, D-K Oh, N-Y Lee, S-I Lee, S-H Yoon, H-S You, J-B Cha, E-S Hong, Y-J Kim, J-H Jang, H-W Nam
Subs: J-H Seo, W-K Yeo, M-K Kang, H-S Hyun, S-H Cho

Malaysia 5 (Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Hafifi Hafiz Hanafi, Muhammad Amin, Muhammad Razie, Mohammad Sukri) Ukraine 1 (Viacheslav Paziuk)
Malaysia made it three wins from three but were ultimately underwhelming against a determined Ukrainian defensive effort which did a good job at stifling the Asian side’s corner efforts.

They took 26 mintues to break through despite all the possession as Faizal Saari unlocked the door with a classy pass through to Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin who reversed in at the second attempt.

Hafifi Hafiz Hanafi doubled up before the break with a sharp turn though his shot was light on power but still managed to nut-meg Volodymr Kurbatov.

Ukraine were doing well to deny the Malaysian corner team which had yielded eight goals in the opening two games but Muhammad Razie’s low-roller from the fifth set-piece found its way in the 49th minute.

Viatcheslav Paziuk did pull one back from a very rare Ukraine attack with a neat switch left with 13 minutes to go. A late flurry saw Muhammad Amin slip one through sub keeper Iaroslav Hordey’s defences and Mohamad Sukri scored from the spot as Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin was bundled over while shooting.

But they were frustrated not to finish off more chances to go with their overall dominance. Nonetheless, they have a 100pc record after three games going into their major dates with Ireland and Korea.

Ukraine: V Kurbatov, R Pashovskyy, D Luppa, D Nosenko, L Moroz, A Ozerskyi, O Diachenko, A Popovchenko, O Andreyev, S Suprun, O Polishchuk
Subs: I Hordey, V Paziuk, M Yasinskyi, A Gerasymenko, V Bondarchuk

Malaysia: K Subramaniam, M Marhan, M Fitri, I Madzli, M Sharun, M Sukri, M Razie, Hafifi Hafiz Hanafi, Baljit Singh, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Faizal Saari
Subs: M Amin, Izwan Firdaus, A Misron, N Fiqri, Azreen Nasir

Russia 4 (A Platonov 2, P Golubev, A Zhirkov) Chile 3 (J Richter, J Berzcely, I Gajardo)
Russia got off the mark with a thrilling victory over Chile in their third game of the campaign, inspired by the brilliant Pavel Golubev, despite regularly being reduced to ten men.

Ignacio Gajardo had initially given Chile the lead in freak fashion after a long corner rebounded off the post and into his path, tipping in unopposed.

Russian veteran Aleksandr Platonov swapped the lead by the break with two goals, the first while his side were short-handed, the second a calm reverse at half-time.

Jan Richter restored parity while Jan Berzcely put Chile in front once more from Richter’s diagonal pass as the South Americans went through a red hot run.

But Russia finished stronger. A fine counter – again while down a man – saw the pacey Golubev smash through the Chilean defences and the winner came in the 57th minute when Platonov laid through Zhirkov who zig-zagged into the circle and flipped over Adrian Henriquez.

Russia: R Rogov, E Mokrousov, K Nikitin, S Kostarev, R Zakriov, A Zhirkov, P Golubev, T Nikolaev, N Yankun, I Loginov, A Platonov
Subs: A Lykov, D Volkov, A Godenkov, S Matkovskiy, N Komarov

Chile: A Henriquez, A Fuenzilada, J Zirpel, J-P Purcell, J Zarhi, L-F Montegu, C Rodriguez, M Rodriguez, A Berzcely, R Binder, J Richter
Subs: I Gajardo, J Berzcely, S Richter, R Garces, R Achondo

Partners of The Hook