Michael Korper and Tobias Walter combined to fire Harvestehuder to their first Euro Hockey League title, edging out home favourites Oranje Zwart on penalties. A pulsating final had ended 2-2 as the German club twice came back from a goal down and they held their nerve in the shoot-out, winning 3-1 with Walter making the saves and Korper duly spinning to push home the winning goal. In so doing, they lifted the trophy for the first time, becoming the first side to win it in their debut in the competition since UHC Hamburg in the inaugural season.
The first half was a tight affair with very little between the teams with Tobias Hauke and Benjamin Stanzl leading a perfectly compact Harvestehuder defence in the face of a side packed with an embarrassment of riches. But the Dutch side went in front when Mink van der Weerden powered home the corner for a 1-0 half-time lead. The lead lasted until five minutes into the second half when Nicolas Spooner latched onto a mistake at the centre of the host side’s defence to push past Mark Jenniskens. He was unable to stop the unmarked Rob Reckers who race onto the end of Rashid Mehmood’s left wing ball into the centre, making it 2-1 with 20 minutes remaining. Again, the lead did not last long as Michael Korper – following a run of four penalty corners – flicked the ball into the top right corner over the postman. That sent the tie to penalties in which Paul Pongs, Stanzl and Korper finished their chances while Walter stood tall in goals en route to a famous victory. Please read the full match report over here.
RC Bruxelles versus KHC Dragons
Earlier in the day, Florent van Aubel’s pair of deflection goals earned Dragons a late 2-1 win over Racing Club de Bruxelles, landing third place from the 2013/14 Euro Hockey League season. The Belgian striker popped up with the winning goal just 70 seconds from the end of an intriguing battle with little between the sides at the end of a long, hard week of four games in quick succession. It provided Manu Leroy with a great send-off to his epic career with Dragons, his last game before retiring from the game. Please watch the highlights of RC Bruxelles versus KHC Dragons match here.
Source: EHL Media Release
Photograph: EHL/Frank Uijlenbroek (c)