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Wales Storm To Comfortable Victory Over Switzerland In Opening Match Of EuroHockey Qualifiers


IMAGE: World Sport Pics

Wales men get their EuroHockey Qualifiers off to an impressive start with an 8-0 victory over Switzerland in Glasgow.


Going into the match as favourites, Wales quickly lived up to the title with a goal from Rupert Shipperley in the first two and a half minutes.


Switzerland made a good save to stop the initial penalty corner drag flick from Gareth Furlong, but with the ball trapped on the line, Shipperley was just able to lift it up and over the Swiss goalie Lars Kleikemper’s stick and pop it into goal.


Wales worked hard over the first half to create chances as Switzerland were happy to sit deep in defence and force the Welsh around the sides. As they looked to further their lead in the second quarter, a good shot from Ben Francis was saved by Kleikemper.


Soon after, Switzerland’s best chance of the game came in the form of their only penalty corner, but the shot from Jonas Winkler was saved on the line by Toby Reynolds-Cotterill.


After several opportunities, Wales finally found their second goal of the game, again via a penalty corner. With play kept alive in the circle after a saved Furlong drag flick, Jolyon Morgan waited patiently on the back post and helped the ball over the line.


In the closing stages of the first half, Furlong doubled their lead with two penalty corner goals in quick succession.


The first of his drag flicks saw a slight deception in direction to get Kleikemper off balance, before the ball bounced off the goalie and into goal.


With slow running from the Swiss defence on the second penalty corner, Furlong had plenty of time to prepare and powered his flick into the top of the net.


The fifth goal for Wales and second for Shipperley was arguably the best goal of the game. A great pass from Ioan Wall was brilliantly finished by the Welsh number nine as he turned and fired it home.


As the second half continued, Switzerland struggled to break out of their own half as Wales continued to create opportunities.


A seventh Welsh penalty corner was saved by the knee of a Swiss defender, giving Wales a penalty stroke that was expertly converted by Furlong to give him is hattrick and make it 6-0.


Brave defending from Swiss captain Fabio Marelli denied Wales a seventh goal at the start of the last quarter, but they weren’t to be held back for long.


As Furlong’s drag flick from another penalty corner bounced off the post, Shipperley took advantage of an empty goal and tapped the ball into the back of the goal to join the hattrick club.


In the final 15 minutes of play, Furlong made it eight for Wales with an unstoppable penalty corner drag flick into the top-right corner.


Wales men are in action again tomorrow with their toughest match of the tournament as they face hosts Scotland at 19:00. The match will be streamed live on EuroHockey TV.

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