Contributed by: Cam Homes
The Europeans Crusaders have won their first match and the Pakistan Shaheens have left it until the last minute to ICe their first IC goal
The battle for 7th and 8th spot in the Women's Division kicked off under an overcast sky and as assured by the Melbourne locals, a typical bitter wind. With Linn Gardell in ruck and kicking with the wind the Crusaders were quick to attack and push the ball into their forward line and confidence took a huge leap when Berengere Portal drilled the Crusaders' first International Cup major. Using the wind to their advantage the Crusaders kept the ball in their forward half and peppered the goals, Mathilde Coombes slotting the Crusaders' second IC goal.
First Quarter Scores: Crusaders 2-5 (17) Shaheens 0-0 (0)
The second quarter started much the same as the first with the Crusaders maintaining the pressure and repelling each foray the Shaheens managed to make towards their forward fifty even though they were beginning to string a few kicks and hand balls together. Eraj, Majeed Samina and Ul Nisa Noor were beginning to make their presence felt for Pakistan, However Crusader’s captain B. Portal brought up her second goal and Marine Assemat added another for Crusaders.
Half Time Score: Crusaders 4-10 (34) Pakistan 0-0 (0)
With the wind at their backs again the Crusaders produced probably their best quarter of footy with captain Portal kicking her third, but the Shaheens continued to battle hard with some good tackling from Khan Asma and Murtaza Memoona and strung some good passages of play to force the ball into their forward fifty. Goals from Ana Barisic and Naima Ait El Mouden came despite the Shaheens successfully repelling several attacks from right in the Crusaders goal square following goal attempts from Frances Finn. The Shaheens were looking better as the game progressed and a hope of Shaheens breaking the goal drought was beginning to look a little more possible.
Three Quarter Time Scores: Crusaders 7-14 (56) Pakistan 0-0 (0)
Still without a score for the tournament yet steadily improving, time was running out for Pakistan to hit the scoreboard in 2017. The Pakistan girls started the last with several forays into their forward fifty but only to see the Crusaders race back down the field and B Portal kick her fourth for the match, Noor, Habib, S Bano, C Mushtag and Eraj were beginning to string kicks, marks and handballs together and keep the ball in their forward lines longer. For the last ten or so minutes of the quarter Shaheen pressure and tackling kept the ball within range of Pakistan goals and confidence grew and desperate footy played out in those last minutes of the game. When it looked like the Shaheens might not ever get that “magic” IC score, a Crusader kick out of the forward zone was intercepted. As the kick was taken a Crusader stepped over the mark and the kick was then taken 25m closer to goal. G Amir took the mark in the pack (or was it a free kick, we haven't been able to confirm) and she was able to go back and from about 25 metres out on a slight angle kick truly. The Shaheens celebration was frenzied but then all had to wait for the goal umpire to ok the goal. Soon after the siren sounded and even the Crusaders helped in the celebration. Great spirit befitting two teams that have struggled on field but bought so much to IC17.
Final Score: Crusaders 8-16 (64) Pakistan 1-0 (6)
Best for Crusaders: B Portal, L Gardell, M Assemat, M Coombes, A Barisic, Carmille Portal and Dagmara Ratinski and Lara Guass should earn a mention.
Crusader Goals: B Portal 4, M Coombes, N Ait El Mouden, M Assemat, A Barisc 1.
Best for Pakistan: G Amir, M Ahmad, Habib, S Bano, C Mushtag, N Ul Nisa.
Pakistan Goals: G Amir 1.
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