FIH Men's Series Finals: Canada gets past Italy to reach final
Canada brought to stop the winning spree of Italy by recording a 3-1 win the first semi-final of the FIH Men's Series Finals in Kuala Lumpur on Friday. It was the first defeat for Italy, the lowest ranked team in this competition, at hands of the highest rank team, Canada.
Rain and thunderstorms in the early afternoon had made the playing conditions conducive for good hockey, Though Canada looked a better side, Italy did put up a gallant fight, and at times came closer to scoring. Tight man to man marking and use of long passes were the weapons Italians tried to use to unnerve the Canadians, who instead, used short passes to rip open the Italian defence.
At one stage when Italy was reduced to nine players, Canada could not take full advantage of the situation.It was Italy that went into lead in the 28th minute when Pietro Lago deflected in a centre. Midfielder Sukhi Panesar put Canada at level with a goal that saw a few short exchanges before ball came back to him in front of an empty goalmouth. A series of penalty corners witnessed during the second half were generally non productive till in the 45th minute, Canada forced four in a row and managed to score from the last to take the vital 2-1 lead.
The goal scorer was Gordon Johnston. As the things looked all settle for a Canadian win, Italians gifted third goal in the dying moments. Oliver Schofield, left unmarked in the string circle picked a long pass and slammed the ball home to make it 3-1 win for Canada and end of winning run of the Italians.