Euro Hockey League – KO16; HC Oranje-Rood, April 14-17 2017, Eindhoven
Racing Club de France, Real Club de Polo, KHC Dragons and Rot-Weiss Köln all advanced to the KO8 following four breathless ties in Eindhoven with four different nationalities confirmed for the next phase of the world’s best club competition.
Racing reached the KO8 for the first time courtesy of a perfect shoot-out performance, scoring three times and conceding none against Banbridge. They rode their luck for much of the game as goalkeeper Corentin Saunier produced save after save.
Christophe Peters-Deutz opened the scoring with a powerful corner before the Irish side pushed forward and got level via Matthew Allister from Jonny McKee’s pass in the last ten minutes. It led to a shoot-out where the French champions reigned supreme.
Real Club de Polo had a far simpler route through as they best WKS Grunwald Poznan 6-0. David Alegre got them off to the perfect start in the first minute when he guided in a miscued Alex Casasayas shot for 1-0.
Casasayas then scored two in quick succession early in the second half to make the game safe before completing his hat trick from a Lucas Vila pass. Alegre added his second while Alex Reyne also weighed in on the act in the comprehensive win.
Game three saws Dragons continue their hoodoo over Racing Club de Bruxelles in the Belgian derby, shading their battle 2-1. Thomas Verheijen scored a great opening goal to give the Antwerp side a strong start in the 13th minute but, despite plenty of possession and shots, it remained that way until late in the game before Thomas Briels made it 2-0.
Jérôme Truyens got one back with an exquisite backhand shot from the left side of the circle with five minutes to go. But Dragons secured the win when Loic van Doren managed to get his face mark to Tom Boon’s thunderous shot to preserve the lead.
It means Dragons with play Racing Club de France for a place in the KO8 on Sunday (12.15 CET) and they will be favourites to potentially earn a place in the FINAL4 on home territory.
The final game of the day was a Dutch-German classic as Rot-Weiss got revenge over SV Kampong, the reigning champions, who beat them 5-1 last year in the KO8.
After an end-to-end first half, the Rot-Weiss broke the game apart when Mats Grambusch finished off a flowing team move, touching in after an exquisite pass from Christopher Rühr and a gorgeous under the arm pass from Marco Miltkau.
Jonas Gomoll added the second with a sharp rebound from Rühr’s first up shot for 2-0. Kampong bounced back in the closing stages and got a goal back via Quirijn Caspers’ deflection. They had numerous corners with Martijn Havenga denied by Matthias Müller’s amazing reactions on the left post to preserve the lead and the ticket to the KO8.
They will play Real Club de Polo on Sunday (14.30 CET) with a place at the FINAL4 in the balance.
Saturday sees the second day of KO16 action with eight more teams looking to secure their place in the next round in front of a sold out audience.
Spanish side Atlètic Terrassa face a Lisnagarvey side looking to reach the KO8 for the first time in Irish hockey history (10.30 CET). English champions Wimbledon take on UHC Hamburg, the competition’s most decorated side in game two at 12.45.
Game three features the feature match as host club HC Oranje-Rood meet AH&BC Amsterdam at 15.00 in a repeat of last year’s Dutch Hoofdklasse final. The final game on the pitch is Mannheimer HC meeting Club Egara at 17.15.
EHL 2016-2017 KO16 and KO8 match schedule 14-17 April 2017 at HC Oranje-Rood, Eindhoven (NED)
Friday 14 April
M1: Banbridge HC 1 (M Allister) Racing Club de France 1 C Peters-Deutz), Racing win 3-0 on shoot-out
M2: WKS Grunwald Poznan 0 Real Club de Polo 6 (A Casasayas 3, D Alegre 2, A Reyne)
M3: KHC Dragons 2 (T Verheijen, T Briels) Royal Racing Club de Bruxelles 1 (J Truyens)
M4: SV Kampong 1 (Q Caspers) KHTC Rot-Weiss Koln 2 (M Grambusch, J Gomoll)
Saturday 15 April
M5 10.30h Atletic Terrassa vs Lisnagarvey HC
M6 12.45h Wimbledon vs UHC Hamburg
M7 15.00h HC Oranje-Rood vs AHBC Amsterdam
M8 17.15h Mannheimer HC vs Club Egara
Sunday 16 April
M9 12.15h KHC Dragons vs Racing Club de France
M10 14.30h Real Club de Polo vs KHTC Rot-Weiss Köln
Monday 17 April
M11 13.15h winner M6 vs winner M8
M12 15.30h winner M7 vs winner M5