Despite an excellent performance in Dublin, Scotland men fell short in a 3-2 defeat to Italy, in Men’s EuroHockey Championship II. The Scots face Turkey in their final pool match as they look to secure a semi-final spot.
Italy got off to a great start by scoring an early goal through a quick attack down the right, which was finished from close range by Davide Guiliani.
The Italians enjoyed good possession but Scotland looked dangerous on the counter, with the likes of Alan Forsyth and Struan Walker primed and ready to break into the circle.
Scotland started the second quarter positively, and pinned Italy back through some creative passing sequences. The positive attacking play won a penalty corner and the Scots took full advantage.
From the corner Jamie Golden sailed a tremendous drag flick into the roof of the net to equalise. 1-1.
The Scotland pressure was constant, and Italy were chasing shadows as the ball zipped quickly around the Italy half, but the Scots were kept at bay until the half time break.
Scotland deservedly went 2-1 ahead early in the second half through a tremendous finish by Kyle White. White took a good touch at the top of the D and unleashed a ferocious effort, on the reverse, into the top right corner of the net.
Italy’s danger in attack served the Scots a swift reminder when they equalised through a Davide Arosio deflection in front of the goalkeeper to pull it back to 2-2.
Scotland nearly went back in front when Craig Falconer zipped the ball to the baseline for Forsyth, who tried to pick out Andy McConnell for a tap in, but the ball evaded the attacker and slipped clear.
Early in the final quarter Walker hit the post for Scotland after he edged along the baseline, and fired towards the near post from a tight angle.
As the clocked ticked down, the tension built, and an Italian penalty corner saw the pendulum swing in their favour. A low Thomas Keenan penalty corner squeezed its way into the net to make it 3-2.
Scotland kept pressing, and came close through a Golden drag flick, but it fizzed just over the bar. They took the goalkeeper off to pile on as much pressure as possible, and it nearly paid off when Walker dove in to deflect the ball goal-ward, but the pad of the keeper denied him the goal.
As deep as the Scots dug, there was no way through, and one final effort on the hooter was well saved to see Italy hold on for the win.
Italy 3-2 Scotland (D. Guiliani; D. Arosio; T. Keenan / J. Golden; K. White)