Italy took the initiative on day two of the men’s EuroHockey Championship III as they made it four wins from four in Athienou, leaving them as the sole unbeaten side going into the final fixtures.
They opened up with a third comfortable win as they raced out to a 20-2 win over Serbia to begin the action.
It set up a key fixture against Denmark in the afternoon session with both sides holding a 100% record at the start of the contest. The two sides were deadlocked at half-time with Simone Pagliara and Christian Møller exchanging goals for 1-1.
But the game was won by a run of four Italian goals between the 22nd and 25th minute as Francois Sior, Marcello Succi, Alberto Ughetto and Alessandro Muzzioli transformed the scored into a 5-1 lead.
A late exchange of goals saw the Danes cut the gap a little to 6-3 but not enough to nick something from the game.
Earlier, Denmark had twice come from behind to beat Ireland 6-2 with Jesper Jonasson slotting a hat trick to add to two from Oscar Birch-Hald. Ireland bounced back with a simple 34-0 win over Greece to sit in second place on goal difference overnight.
Should they beat Italy on Sunday, it would nudge them in front with Denmark’s interest in the title also remaining live.
Hosts Cyprus, meanwhile, picked up four points for their days’ efforts. They showed a calm performance to beat Greece 4-1, building on a single Nicolas Yiakoumi first half goal with strikes Panos Panayiotopoulos, Samuel Lyne and Antonis Efthymiou.
They followed up with a 4-4 draw against Serbia but only after a mighty comeback from the Serbs to nick a point. Cyprus looked well placed with Andreas Michael, Yiakoumi and Orestis Cannas built a 3-1 lead going into the final quarter
Viktor Gabrić gave Serbia hope but an instant reply from Lyne left Cyprus in good shape once again. That was until Adam Losonci got one back from play and then scored a stroke in the dying seconds for their first points of the campaign.
They close out their competition against Greece in the first fixture of the day.