Hockey Olympic Qualifiers: Canada goes through as Ireland slams poor umpiring

Canada men's hockey team beat Ireland 5-4 in the shootout to qualify for the 2020 Olympics after the teams were tied 3-3 on aggregate in regulation time.

Ireland and Canada players battle for the ball during the second-leg of the Olympic Qualifiers at Vancouver.   -  FIH Facebook

The Canada men's hockey team qualified for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with a 5-4 win in the shootout against Ireland after the regulation time in the second-leg at Vancouver ended 3-1. Ireland, which won the first-leg 2-0, had a foot in the next year's Olympics as it led the tie on 3-2 aggregate until the penultimate minute of the second-leg.

In the 60th minute, Canada went for a referral when one of its players went down inside the circle following a stick check from Irish defender Lee Cole. Diego Barbas, the video umpire, awarded Canada a penalty stroke as Ireland's players were left shocked by the decision.

Canadian skipper Scott Tupper stepped up to convert from the spot as the match went into shootout.

Irish goalkeeper David Fitzgerald saved Sukhi Panesar and Keegan Pereira's attempts, while his opposite David Carter denied Michael Robson and Shane O'Donoghue to stretch the shootout into sudden death.

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On the seventh attempt, Adam Froese scored for the host after Carter thwarted John Mckee, leading to wild celebrations in the Ambleside Rutledge Field.

Ireland was furious as it felt that the last-minute penalty stroke robbed it off a place at the Olympics.

"I feel the video umpire should hang his head in shame. It (the penalty stroke) was a terrible, terrible decision in the last minute of the game," Irish captain Jonathan Bell told the reporters after the match.

"But fairplay to Canada, they came out strong against us. We missed a couple of chances which could've  taken away the game from them. But a decision like that at this level of the game is simply not acceptable," Bell added.