Munchner celebrate as EuroHockey Club Trophy champions. Pic credit: Barbara Foerster Photography

After all the goals that led these two teams to the final of the 2017 EuroHockey Club Trophy – 11 to Münchner and 15 to Campo de Madrid – this game came down to a solitary penalty stroke scored by German international and Münchner captain Hannah Kruger. The 1-0 scoreline doesn’t do full justice to a game that was full of passion, enthusiasm, skill and creativity – and two styles of play that epitomise these two teams.

1st/2nd place: Münchner vs Campo de Madrid 1-0

Club Campo de Madrid came out playing a high tempo game but they were stopped in their tracks when a foul in the circle gave Münchner a penalty stroke. German international and Münchner captain Hannah Kruger made no mistake and so Madrid were chasing the game.
Both teams displayed a lot of nerves on the pitch in the opening exchanges and unforced mistakes were common. Madrid were creating corner chances but, where in other games they converted with ease, today nothing went their way. Where called upon, Kim Platten in the Münchner goal was in excellent form.

At the other end of the pitch, her counter part Maria Ruiz Castillo was also making excellent saves, including an incredible block to a Kruger shot.

The two teams displayed very different approaches to the game. Campo de Madrid were looking for speedy breaks, while the German side was more focused upon a steady defence.

With the clock ticking down, the Madrid manager, Aguilar, took the ‘keeper from the pitch in a bid to score the equaliser. Despite even more pressure, the numerous scoring opportunities and penalty corners yielded nothing and, when the final whistle blew, it was the home side that raised its collective arms in triumph.

Speaking after the game, coach to Club Campo de Madrid, Eduardo Aguilar said: “I am really disappointed because we played really well but in a final it is not about playing well, it is about winning. We went 1-0 down to a penalty stroke early on and we didn’t score although we created a lot. We had a lot of penalty corners, which we didn’t score from and that was a big mistake for us. We must be proud of the team, they ran tirelessly and played well throughout the tournament.”

3rd/4th place: HC Minsk vs GHC Ritm Grodno 5-4

This Belarus derby had all the potential to be an uncompromising encounter and it didn’t disappoint as the action flew from one end of the pitch to the other.

Grodno took the early initiative, with their captain Volta Shyntar finding herself on the scoresheet for the sixth time in this tournament. Her goal, in the fourth minute, was a pinpoint penalty corner strike. Yauhenvia Filipovich evened things up in the 13th minute when, with a good advantage played by the umpire, the player was able to rattle the ball past Veranika Mikanovich in the Grodno goal.

Grodno took the lead again in the 18th minute when Sviatlana Bahusevich smashed the ball into the goal with a fierce backhand shot. Towards the end of the second quarter, Grodno were reduced to 10 players as Maria Halinouskaya received a yellow card and, in the 35th minute, Minsk were able to take advantage as Elena Sazhina scored to make it 2-2.

Minsk extended their lead as Filipovich scored her second goal and then Karyna Mihunova made it 4-2 in the 52nd minute.

There was no way that Grodno would let this match go without a battle to the end and, with five minutes left, it seemed they had found a way back when first Alesia Vasilyeva hit a sweet shot to make it 4-3, then captain Shyntar scored another penalty corner to level the scores.

Things were heading to penalty shoot-out until Yauhenvia Filipovich scored her third goal of the game and Minsk took third place after an intriguing and mesmerising match.

Mention should go to the two umpires, Ilaria Amorsisini and Gabriele Schmitz, for their strong performances and effective communication in this fast-paced and physical match.

5th/6th place: Sumchanka vs Pegasus 2-2 (3-1 on shoot-out)

It was an extremely close game between Sumchanka and Pegasus that ended with the first shoot-out of the competition. Sumchanka proved to be the stronger team in this pressured environment, with three of the team scoring and Pegasus only managing to put one shoot-out opportunity away.

In the match itself, the two teams were evenly matched and extremely competitive. The first breakthrough went to the Irish team, Taite Doherty netting from a penalty corner in the 10th minute.

Sumchanka play with a very attacking style and this approach was rewarded just three minutes later when Yuliia Shevchenko found herself in space in front of goal and pushed the ball precisely into the Pegasus goal.

The Ukraine side then moved into the lead through Viktoryia Stetsenko, again it was a goal that caught the Pegasus defence unawares as the player pounced on a pass to slam it home.

It was captain Alex Speers who dragged her team back into the fixture. Spears has been reliable in front of goal throughout this event and today was no exception. Her penalty corner rattled into the goal and kept her team in with a chance of victory.

No further goals were scored in regulation time so the match went to penalty shoot-out. Stetsenko, Yevheniya Kernoz and Kateryna Shokalenko scored for Sumchanka, while Taite Doherty was the only successful striker for Pegasus.

“This tournament has all come down to fine margins,” said Pegasus coach Alison McNeill. “We were so close to getting into the third-fourth play-off and today we were close to winning. It has been such a positive experience for us and so much to take back and learn from.”

Shoot-out time: Sumchanka vs Pegasus

7th/8th place: Amiscora vs Menzieshill 1-3

Menzieshill started brightly in this seventh/eighth place play-off but had to withstand a last minute fightback by the Italian team Amiscora to secure seventh spot.

Hanna McKie opened the Menzieshill account with a goal scored from open play in the fourth minute of the match. The Italian team really took their time about getting into gear and Susan Hamilton was able to double the Scottish team’s advantage a few minutes later – through a well-taken penalty corner.

The second quarter saw Amiscora begin to get back into the game and ‘keeper Catherine Rae was called into action for Menzieshill on a number of occasions, but the Italian attack were unable to find the killer touch.
Menzieshill’s third goal came after McKie struck a sweet reverse stick into the circle and Jennifer Walls was on hand to deflect the ball past Alina Fadieieva in the Amiscora goal.

There was a bright burst from the Italian side in the final 10 minutes of the game. Federica Carta scored from open play to bring the score to 3-1, and then Teresa Della Vittoria seized upon a loose ball in the 58th minute to bring the score to 3-2. There was a nervous final two minutes for Menzieshill as Amiscora continued to push forwards but time ran out for the Italians and Menzieshill finished their campaign with a win.

“We had a real experience here,” said Alina Fadieieva. We will be able to build on this and it is certainly something we will aim to qualify for next year.”

Louise Carrol from Menzieshill added: “We were delighted to get a victory at last. It was a bit tight at the end but we stayed strong and saw it out. This has been a phenomenal experience and our young players will have learnt a lot.”
Top scorers at the 2017 EuroHockey Club Trophy were: Volha Shyntar, GHC Ritm Grodno (7); Elena Sazhina HC Minsk (5) and Alex Speers, Pegasus (5)

EuroHockey Club Trophy 2017 Women – Munich, Germany – Day 4