Euro Hockey League KO16: Amsterdam 2-1 Atlètic Terrassa.

Taeke Taekema rolled back the years and despatched a clinical drag flick in the fourth quarter to settle this tie and send his team into the KO8 on Easter Monday.

There had been suggestions that the veteran penalty corner specialist’s powers were on the wane, but modelling an adjusted technique the No.10 came up with the goods when it mattered most.

The home side took the lead through another penalty corner source. Robert Tigges despatched a low flick which was too pacy for Marc Calzada to keep out.

Terrassa were by no means overawed by their task and Ignasi Freixa was a constant thorn in the side of the home defence shooting on the reverse just wide of the goal and making a series of threatening breaks in the opening exchanges.

Roc Oliva, keen to put one over his old club was frustrated by Calzada who saved low to his right from the Amsterdam star. Ignasi Freixa levelled the game up, showing superb predatory instincts to get ahead of the defender and poke the ball between the goalkeeper’s legs from Sergi Enrique’s cross. He almost gave the visitors the lead seconds later but his clever deflection flew just over the cross bar with the Amsterdam defence at sixes and sevens.

Billy Bakker opened the second half with a great run along the baseline followed by an outrageous attempt at lifting the ball around the goalkeeper and volleying home, but he was unable to connect with the shot. It was a marvellous try and would have been a magnificent goal had he been able to pull it off.

The game was end to end with neither side really asserting any dominance. Calzada showed good reflexes to get a foot to a reverse stick effort from Valentin Verga, whilst Santi Freixa fluffed his lines and sent a good chance over the bar from the left side of the D.

Terrassa dominated the third quarter but had few clear cut chances to show for their troubles and had to go into quarter four still on level terms.

At the start of the final quarter Taekema stepped up to bury his chance and give his side the lead. Terrassa had a gilt-edged opportunity to level up but Ignasi Freixa was unable to divert Marc Pujal’s pass into the net. Taekema had a chance to settle the game with another corner but could only find Calzada’s glove. Despite a late foray down the right hand side from the visitors, Amsterdam were able to see the game out.

It had been a hard-fought battle with Terrassa throwing everything at their opponents, whilst Amsterdam will be grateful for their two penalty corner experts who ultimately won them the game.

The games will not get any easier as they await the winner of Waterloo Ducks vs. HC Berliner. Amsterdam will be mightily relieved to be facing anyone at all after being pushed all the way by the Spaniards.

About thetopofthed

Columnist for The Hockey Paper and the man behind The Top of the D. Writer, podcaster, goalkeeper and BBC Sport man. Used to work for Great Britain Hockey and have covered the sport at every major tournament.
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