HOCKEYROOS DRAW BUT REMAIN IN POLE POSITION FOR FINAL

Thursday 22 November 2018 | The Hockeyroos have missed a chance to book a spot in Sunday’s Champions Trophy final but remain in the box seat after a 0-0 draw with hosts China PR in Thursday’s group game.

 

Australia could have clinched their place in the decider with victory but had to settle for a draw, although three points against Japan in their final group game on Saturday will be enough to make the final.

 

China had the better of the first-half chances but the Hockeyroos pressed hardest in the second half, coming close on numerous occasions in the last quarter.

 

Jodie Kenny’s drag flick and Rebecca Greiner’s deflection were Australia’s best chances, as they finished with the advantage in all statistical areas including 8-7 shots and 17-13 circle entries.

 

Hockeyroos captain Jodie Kenny said: “China defended very well tonight. We threw everything we had at them.

 

“It was quite end-to-end in that last quarter. It was a shame we couldn’t slot one away.”

 

The result leaves Australia in second spot on the standings, one point clear of China who play world number one and leaders Netherlands on Saturday.

 

The match started off slowly, with few chances in the opening 15, until Peng Yang forced a good low save from Australia keeper Ash Wells.

 

Gold Coast’s Rosie Malone scuffed an 18th minute chance while newcomer Greiner tested China goalkeeper Ye Jiao twice in one play.

 

China had their moments in the first half with Chen Yang’s close-range deflection going wide, while Zhong Mengling missed an open goal from Ou Zixia’s 29th minute cross.

 

Bundaberg product Greiner deflected Steph Kershaw’s drive over the top in the 38th minute before Australia won their first penalty corner of the match in the 44th minute.

 

Jodie Kenny’s drag flick from the subsequent short corner was blocked with China launching a quick counter-attack which saw Zhang Xiaoxue’s shot go marginally wide.

 

An Australian 48th minute penalty corner led to a flurry of chances from Maddy Fitzpatrick and Edwina Bone but China scrambled the danger away.

 

Ye Jiao also saved Kenny’s 50th minute drag flick to her left as Australia searched for the winner which never came.

 

Australia takes on Japan on Saturday from 5pm AEST live on kayosports.com.au.

 

Australia 0

China PR 0

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