Red Caribou against Red Lions, or Canada against Belgium, that was the program of the fourth Olympic day in Tokyo today for the team of Shane McLeod. The Red Lions were obviously keen to give their nine out of nine a positive follow-up.
A lot of concentration on the part of the Belgians, who immediately went for every ball from the first second of the game. The construction was calm and precise, the necessary patience was shown. And gradually the danger became closer to the Canadian circle. In the 12 eminute, Belgium received a first penalty corner, immediately followed by a second. Hendrickx time, everyone thought … and it was, “Jimmy” scored his eighth of the tournament with a bang against the board (1-0). The Lions kept pushing, with nicely built attacks, but the last ball touch still lacked sharpness. In the last minute of the first quarter, Pearson advanced from the left. Dockier and Van Doren tried to catch him, but the Canadian attacker persevered and scored from an impossible angle in the roof of Vanasch’s goal: 1-1.
In the second quarter things went a little less smoothly for the Belgians, who had more trouble keeping the rhythm high. Canada tried to take advantage of this and launched some actions, which were however well received by the Belgian defence. With one minute left before the break, Wegnez continued on the right, up to the goal line and passed back to Sebastien Dockier who finished in a controlled way: 2-1.
After the break, a new PC was immediately forced by the Lions. Boon’s tow was well taken off the line by the liojnstopper. But in the action that followed, Boccard recuperated the ball to the left, making a cross for Dockier who was well positioned at the head of the circle. The Antwerp player aimed and hit it just before his second of the match (3-1). However, the Canadians did not give up and kept trying. Pearson had another chance to backhand on the left, but this time his ball went high. As usual, the third quarter was decisive for the Red Lions. De Sloover recovered a ball in the center, saw Denayer well lined up in the circle and fired a ‘caviar’ pass at his captain. Felix Denayer deviated the ball nicely into goal: 4-1. A minute later, Hendrickx was back in charge for the 5-1. Two minutes later, Briels beautifully controlled the ball in the Canadian circle and Simon found Gougnard with a subtle pass: 6-1. And at the end of the third quarter it was even 7-1 thanks to Cédric Charlier, who finished his duel with the Canadian goalkeeper and a defender wonderfully.
Canada was unable to use a PC in the last 15 minutes. The Belgians did not pass up this chance on PC a few minutes later. Everyone thought the ball would go to Hendrickx, but it was Tom Boon who was able to drag in the 8-1. And it wasn’t over yet, on a Charlier backhand center Florent van Aubel dived nicely for the goalkeeper to deviate the ball into the goal: 9-1. And Vincent Vanasch would also distinguish himself at the very end. The goalkeeper prevented a second Canadian goal on PC, with a beautiful stick reflex on his right post.
Again a strong statement from the Belgian men, who this time also took care of the defensive work. Tomorrow will be the last group match against Great Britain, at 2.15 pm Belgian time. Meet at your club to cheer on our Red Lions with family and friends!