Euro Hockey League 3rd Place Playoff: Amsterdam 5-3 Rot Weiss Koln.

Two goals from Amsterdam captain Billy Bakker ensured his team overcame the disappointment of yesterday’s semi-final exit to take third place in the Euro Hockey League with a 5-3 win over German outfit Rot Weiss Koln. 

With both sides having to pick themselves up after the heartbreak of penalty shootout defeats in yesterday’s games the match was always going to take a while to get going. Rot Weiss probably had the better of the opening exchanges with Hendrik Schwarzer and Joshua Delarber both going close in the first quarter. Derek Van Essen was called into action to repel a Marco Miltkau shot and Moritz Trompertz was unlucky to see his sliding deflection beat the goalkeeper but go wide of the post.

In the 18th minute, Amsterdam opened the scoring. Santi Freixa broke into the D on the left and crossed for Caspar Horn to score his first Euro Hockey League goal. Koln had a chance to draw level from a penalty corner, but the move broke down allowing Amsterdam to sweep forward on the counter attack. Freixa again broke down the left and crossed to Mirco Pruyser whose touch let him down and allowed the goalkeeper to clear.

Koln equalised just before half time. Jan-Marco Montag’s drag flick was saved by Van Essen but Joshua Delarber was on hand to calmly slot home the rebound to ensure the sides went in at the break level.

At half time both sides changed their goalkeepers with Max Weinhold and Jacob Van Der Hoeven both coming on. Weinhold was immediately called into action, smothering twice in quick succession as Amsterdam broke along the baseline.

On 39 minutes Amsterdam took the lead from the penalty spot after a Taeke Takema penalty corner was stopped on the line by the defender’s body. Valentin Verga made no mistake going low to the goalkeeper’s right.

Another Takema penalty corner extended the lead as this time the legendary No.10 fired a low shot underneath Weinhold who got to the ball but could not keep it out. Undeterred, Koln went straight up the other end and reduced the deficit. Andrin Rickli crossed from the left and Marco Miltkau expertly diverted home his seventh goal of this season’s competition.

The Dutch side had a great chance to restore their two goal cushion as once again Takema’s penalty corner was kept out by a defender’s feet, resulting in a penalty stroke. Floris Evers took it but his high flick was saved by Max Weinhold’s stick.

On 59 minutes Bakker made it 4-2 after good approach play from Nicki Leijs the Amsterdam captain turned and shot on the reverse through the goalkeeper’s legs. Four minutes later Bakker had his second, Verga broke into the D and looked set to score, but was blocked by a good save from Weinhold, the ball fell kindly to Bakker who steadied himself and lifted the ball over the goalkeeper and into the net for 5-2.

There was still time for Jan-Marco Montag to rip a blistering drag flick into the top corner on the stroke of full time but Rot Weiss were already beaten. For the German side the 5-3 loss caps a miserable weekend. 4th is the highest they have ever finished in this competition, but for some small margins it could have been so much better.

For Amsterdam, the bronze medal represents some consolation after what has been a difficult season for Taco Van Den Honert’s men. They will not be in this competition next season, but have every reason to be proud of their efforts this time out.

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