WOQ: Korean women strengthen Olympic qualifying chances |
March 22, 2004
Daily Times, Pakistan
> Page Views 2441
AUCKLAND (New Zealand): South Korea revived its bid for a place at the Athens Olympics when it beat Russia 6-0 at the women?s field hockey qualifying tournament on Monday.
In the only other match on Monday, New Zealand came back from a 2-0 deficit at halftime to beat the Ukraine 3-2 and to almost guarantee itself Olympic qualification. Top-seeded in Pool B of the 10-team tournament, South Korea saw its qualifying hopes dim when it lost 1-0 to Spain in its opening match and drew 1-1 with the United States.
But the team bounced back to its best form on Monday, gaining new confidence and placing pressure on Spain and Japan which leads its group. ?Today?s match is very important to reach the semis,? said Korean coach Kim Sang-ryul. ?We had problems scoring goals in the last two games. Against Russia there was more space and if there is space our girls are shorter but faster than them.?
Five of Korea?s six goals were scored from the field in an outstanding display of coordinated passing and finishing. Kim Seong-eun had three goals, scoring in the 15th, 41st and 63rd minutes to move to the top of the tournament?s goalscorers list. The six-goal margin, which gives South Korea a 7-2 goal difference after three games, puts it in a good position if Japan falters against Spain on Tuesday. A loss by Japan would mean South Korea has to beat its Asian rival to grab an automatic qualifying place.
The top five teams from the tournament advance to the Athens Games.
The Ukraine shocked New Zealand with fast and skillful play in the first half but the hosts battled back with goals to Niniwa Roberts and Lisa Walton. Roberts slotted the winner 14 minutes from fulltime. Svintlana Kolomiyets and Zhanna Savenko scored in the first 11 minutes for the Ukraine, whose three losses leave them at the bottom of Pool A
Your opinion counts.
Rate this article or enter your comments below.