Sunday, June 16, 2024

Women’s Euro Hockey League: Frédérique Matla proves star turn for Den Bosch

Frédérique Matla once again proved the hero as Den Bosch defeated Club de Campo de Madrid for the second time in three editions of the EHL Women’s Grand Final, making it 18 top tier European club titles since 2000 and a third Dutch club win in a row since the women’s inception.

This one was far closer than the 2021 edition with Campo soaking up huge pressure to keep the game tight throughout but the Dutch club eventually made the pressure tell with Matla getting the vital breakthrough – her 15th EHL goal in eight games. In the semi-final she had scored late against a stout Düsseldorfer team as they edged into the final.

Early on, Den Bosch ran up a trio of penalty corner chances in the first quarter and played the game largely on the front foot. But Maria Lopez was making numerous vital interventions and the Madrid club fought for every centimetre.

Joosje Burg had the closest chance, firing a backhand shot into the outside of the goal. They were also unfortunate when a great chance went in off Maartje Krekelaar’s body when a backhand cross came in at knee-height.

For Campo’s part, they countered to win two corners but could not make full use of them; one was mistrapped and almost led to a big four-on-two opening for Den Bosch but it was intercepted by Berta Agullo on the circle’s edge.

Into the second half, Pleun van der Plas chipped one over the bar from a big chance and Frédérique Matla saw a drag-flick brilliantly booted clear by Maria Ruiz.

It came during a barrage of chances from the Dutch side with Ruiz and Lopez peppered but holding on, keeping it 0-0 at the end of Q3.

The resistance was finally broken just 30 seconds into the final quarter, a brilliant piece of chasing from Pien Sanders saw her just about keep the ball in play. Joosje Burg picked up the pieces and got the ball to Matla who slammed in from close range.

It proved the only goal as Den Bosch calmly saw out the closing 14 minutes to celebrate yet another golden victory.

Düsseldorfer HC won their first ever EHL medal as three second half goals saw them defeat Sanse Complutense 3-0 in the women’s bronze match.

Total Hockey

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