Germany’s Uhlenhorster have become the first winners of the Euro Hockey League, defeating Dutch side HGC with a dramatic extra time winner from Benjamin Kopp.
Despite the match only having one goal, it was a fascinating contest that was not short of goal scoring opportunities. Were it not for the brilliance of two in-form goalkeepers – Guus Vogels (HGC) and Uhlenhorster’s Johannes Blank – there would surely have been more names on the scoresheet. Both made a string of stunning saves, but Vogels was eventually beaten by a goal he could do little about.
Earlier in the day, H.C. Rotterdam secured third place with victory over Spain’s Club Egara. The match finished 2-2 after both normal and extra time, but it was Rotterdam who triumphed in the player v goalkeeper one-on-ones. Edi Tubau – who scored twice in the match for Egara – was the player to miss the vital penalty, when he fired into the side of the goal from a tight angle to give Rotterdam the victory.
However, it was Uhlenhorster’s day, and it is they who lifted the Alain Danet Trophy during the post match ceremony, and took away a cheque for 20,000 Euros. It was a double win for Uhlenhorster captain Moritz Fuerste, who along with lifting the trophy was named as the Most Valuable Player of the 2007/8 Euro Hockey League.
Uhlenhorster v HGC – The key moments…
FIRST QUARTER: It was an exciting start to the Euro Hockey League final, with Uhlenhorster dominating the early stages of play. It was Philip Sunkel who came closest to scoring when he hit the crossbar from a tight angle.
SECOND QUARTER: Uhlenhorster were still very much the dominant force, but could not find a way past either Guus Vogels or the frame of the goal as eventual match-winner Benjamin Kopp hit the left post with a stunning deflection from the top of the circle. HGC looked good going forward, but the influential Barry Middleton was being closely watched by the Uhlenhorster defenders, who tried to limit his involvement.
THIRD QUARTER: A yellow card suspension for HGC’s Robert Jan Marck appeared to give Uhlenhorster the advantage late in this period of the match, but HGC do well to stop any threat from the German club side.
FOURTH QUARTER: With just two minutes left to play, HGC's Floris van der Linden beat two players before smashing his backhand shot into the pads of Blank. If he had hit the corner it would have almost certainly surely have won the game. Moments later, Philip Witte moves along the back line of the goal from the left, but his attempted pass towards the penalty spot is cut out by the brilliant Vogels.
EXTRA TIME PERIOD 1: Uhlenhorster 1-0 HGC – Benjamin Kopp 73m FG
Benjamin Kopp wins the game and the Euro Hockey League title for his club, expertly deflecting a cross from the left past Guus Vogels who could do nothing about it. The team had to hang on for two minutes before erupting into celebration of what they had achieved.
For video highlights of the Finals weekend, please click here.
Third Place Play-Off: Club Egara 2-2 H.C. Rotterdam - H.C. Rotterdam win after penalties.
Goals: Club Egara - Edi Tubau (FG 4m, FG 37m). H.C. Rotterdam: Sohail Abbas FG 26m. Sjoerd Gerretsen FG 32m.
Penalties: ROT: GOAL - J Herzberger. EGA: MISS - G Schickendantz. ROT: GOAL - W Ahmad. EGA: GOAL - R Alegre. ROT: MISS - Matthe de Jong. EGA: MISS - E Tubau
2007/8 Euro Hockey League Final: Uhlenhorster 1-0 HGC
Goal: Benjamin Kopp 73m FG