Netherlands: HGC Rescues Point in Dying Seconds

On Sunday, HGC managed to snatch a point from Pinoké in a close game. The Wassenaar team scored a last-minute corner in the Amsterdamse Bos, resulting in a 1-1 draw. Top scorer Lola Riera was responsible for the goal, which could prove crucial in the race for the playoffs in the Tulp Hoofdklasse Dames.

The scoreboard remained at 0-0 when Riera made the decisive push in the sixty-minute mark. It was her sixth corner of the game, which was a frustrating afternoon for her as her sleep did not work as expected, and Pinoké’s goalie Kiki Gunneman played a brilliant match.

However, in the sixty-minute, Riera’s delivery was perfect, and HGC managed to score a crucial goal that could help them secure a playoff spot. The battle for the fourth spot behind SCHC, Amsterdam, and Den Bosch in the Tulp Hoofdklasse Dames has become fierce. With Oranje-Rood now playing on the second level, HDM struggling at the bottom of the table, the competition for the fourth spot is between Hurley, Pinoké, and HGC.

Before the game on Sunday, Hurley, who were fourth in the table, were only three points ahead of HGC, who were sixth. The game’s stakes were high, and it was evident from the start that both teams were in it to win it. The match was fast-paced, with both teams getting corners in the first five minutes. Pinoké almost took the lead when Maxime Kerstholt missed a Maria Steensma cross by a hair’s breadth.

Kiki Kunneman emerges as the winner. Photo: Koen Suyk

The game became messy in the second quarter, and it affected the number of good chances both teams created. Pinoké missed their third corner of the game, and Eva Drummond failed to score when she had a good opportunity. HGC dominated the third quarter but struggled to convert their chances. Lola Riera’s corners were not working, and Sophie Schlatmann missed a golden opportunity.

In the last quarter, Pinoké took the lead through Kerstholt, who controlled the ball well and scored past the HGC goalkeeper. Pinoké seemed to be on their way to victory until Milou Jaeger was sent off with eight minutes left on the clock. HGC piled on the pressure, and in the dying minutes of the game, Riera scored from a corner, rescuing a point for HGC.

The draw was a fair result, but it felt like a defeat for Pinoké, who missed out on a great opportunity to put pressure on the teams above them. On the other hand, HGC will be happy with the point, which could be crucial in their quest for a playoff spot.

The top three teams in the Tulp Hoofdklasse Dames, SCHC, Amsterdam, and Den Bosch, are expected to qualify for the playoffs, leaving only the fourth spot up for grabs. The fourth spot has become a sort of holy grail for teams that are just below the top three.

With Oranje-Rood now playing in the second division and HDM struggling, Hurley, Pinoké, and HGC are the main contenders for the fourth spot. Before Sunday’s game, Hurley was leading the race, but HGC’s draw means that the gap between the two teams is now only two points.

Maxime Kerstholt is applauded after the 1-0 for Pinoké. Photo: Koen Suyk

The game was an exciting affair, with both teams having their fair share of chances. Pinoké’s goalkeeper Kiki Gunneman was in excellent form, making crucial saves to keep her team in the game. However, in the end, it was Lola Riera’s last-minute goal that secured a point for HGC.

With only a few games left in the season, every point counts, and the battle for the fourth spot is far from over. HGC’s draw means that they are still in contention, while Pinoké will have to regroup and put this result behind them.

Overall, it was a thrilling game of hockey, and both teams deserve credit for their performances. The Tulp Hoofdklasse Dames is one of the most competitive women’s hockey leagues in the world, and this game was a testament to that.

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