Friday, March 12, 2010

Exploring Russia- Day 11

By: Erin LycanRegion I ODP – 2

Turkey National Team U19 – 2

Turkey advances on penalty kicks - 5-4


Region 1 ODP battled back to tie the game at 2-2, after going down 0-2 in the second half, to force the match into penalty kicks to decide the winner.

Region 1 led the game in shots in the first half with 5 to Turkey’s 3, but neither team could score before the half. Coming out of the half, Turkey got on the scoreboard first and took a 1-0 lead in the 44th minute scoring from a breakaway scenario. Turkey would strike again just 6 minutes later in the 50th minute when a Turkish striker hit a ball from the top of the 18-yard box to give the Turks a 2-0 lead.

Region 1 would battle back and close the gap to 2-1 in the 66th minute when Haley Miller scored from a pass from Allison Yeager who redirected the ball off of a corner kick taken by Jennifer Gibbons. Region 1 continued to battle and were awarded a penalty kick for a foul in the penalty area extra time in the 83rd minute. Tori Leigh stepped up and buried the penalty kick to bring the game even at 2-2. Just seconds later after the ball was kicked off, the referee signaled for the end of regulation and both teams prepared for the ensuring round of penalty kicks.

Each team converted their first 4 penalty kicks and Region 1 missed their 5th shot. The 5th and final shooter for Turkey stepped up and finished her shot and the Turks celebrated their victory.

The game was not without controversy and there were some heated words and shouting coming from the 8 coaches on Turkey’s bench.  They didn’t help themselves by distributing a goalkeeper coach far outside of the technical area but “on another field” to yell at the players during the game and when one of their players kicked a ball at one our players after the referee whistled the end of regulation, resulting in a second yellow and therefore a red card for that player, their bench went ballistic.  Suddenly their ability to speak English, albeit angrily and with a certain amount of cursing, was quite the revelation.
As a result of today’s loss, Region 1 has been eliminated from the tournament as Turkey advances to the semi-final. Other winners advancing to the semi-finals were Estonia (a winner in penalty kicks over Ukraine) and China a 2-0 winner over the Krasnador Regional Team. At the time of this post, the score of Russia’s Quarterfinal match was not available.

Region 1, for the remainder of the event, will train daily, and will play two more friendly matches before returning back to the United States. With China, Estonia, Turkey, and most likely Russia advancing to the Semi-final round, we are likely to play Belarus and the Urals Regional Team, as those are the two teams that have also been eliminated from the tournament and who we have not yet played.

There is an administrative meeting this evening where we will learn our schedule for the remainder of our time here and we will be sure to post an update as soon as it is available. We thank everyone again for following us and for all of your encouraging and positive emails throughout our time here in Russia!

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