UDG Healthcare World League Round 2, quarter-finals
Ireland 2 (N Evans, M Frazer) Lithuania 0
Scarcely entertaining but Ireland got the job done and took another assured performance step forward in the Olympic qualification process with a 2-0 quarter-final win over Lithuania in Belfield yesterday in the UDG Healthcare World League Round Two.
The win sets up a semi-final date with Belarus where success ensures they earn a ticket to round three of the World League where tickets to Rio in 2016 will be on the table..
Two first half goals from set pieces – one from Nikki Evans, the other from captain Megan Frazer – killed off what proved a low-key battle as the Lithuanians intention to put numbers behind the ball made for little goalmouth action.
Their containment policy meant they did not garner a single circle penetration and only committed two players to the fleeting attacks they did manage.
It meant it was far from the goalfest of Tuesday – netting 13 times against Turkey – and it was always more likely the goals would come from play than the field.
From those corners, Frazer and Emma Smyth both had pot-shots before Cliodhna Sargent saw a hit taken off the line by Simona Grubliauskaite.
They eventually broke through in the 20th minute from the fifth corner, Sargent diverting play to the right post where Evans slid in for her second goal of the tournament.
Another penalty corner forged number two as Shirley McCay’s sweep bounced off a defensive foot on the line. Frazer rolled home with little fuss for a 2-0 half-time lead.
Speaking afterwards, coach Darren Smith said it was a frustrating game but the result was the all important factor.
“Lithuania slowed the game up and we obliged a bit,” he said. “You come up against teams like that and the way to do a job on them is to up the tempo and take a chance.
“Particularly in the second half, we started to fall into their hands and play the game at quite a slow pace. Therefore, there wasn’t that many opportunities on goal. That’s what you have to come up against sometimes.”
Ireland: E Gray, C Sargent, E Smyth, N Evans, S McCay, M Frazer, A Connery, N Daly, H Matthews A O’Flanagan, G Pinder
Subs: N Carroll, C Watkins, L Colvin, K Mullan, K Dillon, A Meeke, A McFerran
Lithuania: V Vileikyte, E Kalinauskaite, U Chmeliauskaite, K Poskute, D Grigiene, S Grubliauskaite, J Juodyte, S Jakovlevaite, S Adomaviciute, R Zukaite, R Petrauskaite
Subs: I Kenstaviciute, A Garbataviciute, U Aucynaite, E Nomeikaite, E Malyseva, I Paulaviciute, O Maksimovic
Umpires: A Faias, O Klymenko
Canada 5 (T Culley 2, A Thicke, S McManus, S Norlander) Austria 1 (L Thornblom)
Canada were rarely troubled by Austria as their greater speed was too much for them, running up a 5-1 win in the first of the quarter-finals at Belfield.
Thea Culley got them off to a great start with a third minute before popping home the second in the second quarter. Alex Thicke scrambled home number three – her first international goal – from close range as Austria could not clear a corner on the strok of half-time.
Sara McManus’s direct corner goal made it 4-0 before Lovisa Thornblom got one back with four minutes to go. Stephanie Norlander complete the win, though, in the final minute.
Belarus 5 (S Bahushevich 4, M Halinoskaya) Ukraine 1 (K Samokhdchenko)
Sviatlana Bahushevich’s four goal second half salvo saw Belarus overcome their near neighbours with a late flourish. The first half had ended scoreless with Belarus missing the best chance, a penalty stroke, just before the interval.
But once Bahushevich started scoring, she could not stop. Her first was spectacular in the 35th minute with a brilliant diving effort from close to the left endline. She added another classy finish a minute into the second quarter for 2-0 before Ukraine got a lifeline when Kateryna Samokhodchenko’s intended cross was deflected in by a back-tracking defender.
Maryia Halinouskaya killed off any lingering doubts, though, with a corner rebound – having hit the post moments earlier – before Bahushevich added another two goals amid a breathtaking three minute spell.
Chile 14 (D Caram 4, M Urroz 4, A Venegas 2, D Krimerman, F Tala, C Caram, S Filipek) Turkey 2 (K Guzelal, A Esen)
Chile cruised to a simple 14-2 win over Turkey to take up a semi-final spot against Canada as Daniela Caram and Manuela Urroz both scored four times.
After some initially strong resistence and some help from the post, Urroz broke the deadlock on the quarter time hooter from close range. From there, they were 5-0 up at half-time and had 11 on the board before Turkey’s Kubra Gulezal got her side’s first goal of the tournament. Ayla Esen got another back but Chile were always a long way out of sight.