With short turnaround from their opening games, Uganda and Luxembourg took ESPN field to battle it out. From the stat sheet, these teams are evenly matched and the crowd knew they were in for a show.
Luxembourg came out of the gate firing, scoring off the initial face-off within a matter of seconds.
They clearly showed up ready to play as Max Rubin took control by navigating through the Ugandan defense with deceptive face dodges. But, the early action did not deter the Cranes as they struck back by the middle of the 1st quarter with a set play that shows their game has advanced since their 2014 World Championship appearance.
Although these teams are not known for the high level stick skills, they certainly made up for it in aggressive play. So aggressive at times that each team landed in the penalty box for a list of slashes, crosschecks and late hits. On a questionable number of those occasions, each team served simultaneous infractions pushing the teams to play more 5v5 than normal.
Luxembourg continued to flex their strength as they pushed their lead to three with a 5-2 score at halftime.
The Red Lions’ goalie stood tall as the Cranes made a handful of attempts on the doorstep only to be denied. But, as time wore on and the heat set in players on the Luxembourg side were visibly wearing down. Coming out of halftime, the Cranes put together a 3-0 run giving them the lead and a revitalized energy. Similar to their first, these 3 goals came off set plays isolated an attackman at X to dodge and feed in front of the cage.
Moving into the 4th quarter Luxembourg was gassed and eager to sit on the ball, but the Ugandan defense did not let up on their man-to-man strategy, forcing the ball out of Luxembourg’s hands. With just under 4 minutes left in the game, Uganda doubled up on their lead resulting in an explosion of excitement on their sideline.
However, their cheer was soon subdued when Luxembourg knotting another goal making this game a nail-biter.
In the end, the Cranes held onto their lead and rushed the field in jubilation after securing their first group stage win. Having drawn the group of four teams with Poland and Hong Kong, there’s no days off as both teams fight to emerge in the top half of the pool.