Canada suffered a heart-breaking 2-1 loss to Italy in their final Pool game at the Champions’ Challenge II tournament in Vienna.
Italy dominated the play early, earning two Penalty Corners in the first ten minutes. They scored on the second, putting in a rebound after a fine save by Azelia Liu. Italy continued their strong play with another Penalty Corner at 13′, forcing another save by the goalkeeper at 15′, and shooting wide at 17′.
Gradually, however, Canada began to gain momentum with several chances later in the half, notably a Thea Culley shot that went just wide at 31′, along with several long corners before the half ended.
Canada continued their strong play as the second half began, keeping the play in Italy’s end. At 43′ they had the Italian goalkeeper out of position at the top of the circle but were unable to find the net. At 46′ they earned a Penalty Corner. Kate Gillis pulled out to Steph Jameson, back to Gillis whose shot went over the net.
Continuing their fine play, Canada earned another Penalty Corner at 52′, this time being rewarded with a hard shot by Steph Jameson which was deflected up into the net off the goalie to tie the score at 1.
Against the run of play, at 61′ Italy pounced on a ball at the top of the circle. Their subsequent hard shot into the circle was deflected past Azelia Liu to put Italy ahead 2-1. Canada continued pressure right up to the final whistle. An Italian defender was given a Yellow Card in the final minute and Canada had a number of free hits just outside the circle, but could not find the equalizer.
Canada ends up third in their pool due to goal difference. They now play Belgium on Thursday in the quarter finals. Not the result they were hoping for, but with continued fine play they still have a chance at winning the tournament.
Starting line-up – Azelia Liu, Steph Jameson, Abi Raye, Di Roemer, Dani Hennig, Katie Baker, Tyla Flexman, Krissy Wishart, Kate Gillis, Jess Walkey, Thea Culley.
Substitutes – Sara McManus, Katie Collison, Marian Dickinson, Hannah Haughn, Cailie O’Hara.
Did not play – Sam Smith, Kaitlyn Williams.