BHUBANESWAR (Odisha) : India managed to hold world No. 1 Netherlands to a 2-2 draw and bagged a bonus point by defeating them in the penalty shootout in the FIH Pro League 2023-24 on Sunday at the Kalinga Stadium.
Hardik Singh (13′) and Harmanpreet Singh (58′) were the two scorers for India, while Jip Janssen (30′) and Bijen Koen (39′) found the net for the reigning champions.
According to the FIH Pro League rules, in the event of a draw, both teams get a point and in case of a penalty shootout, the winning team gets a bonus point.
The Netherlands kicked off the game on a dominant foot, Janssen and Tjep Hoedemakers kept the Indian defenders and goalkeeper busy and gave them a lot to think about.
The world No. 3, India, started to shift the tides against the reigning champions with skipper Harmanpreet Singh testing the Dutch defence twice with penalty corners in the final five minutes of the first quarter.
After fending off the penalty corners, India managed to get a breakthrough moments later with Hardik Singh finding the far corner from a near-impossible angle.
The second half of the game saw momentum shift like a pendulum in favour of both teams. The Netherlands capitalized on it with Janssen beating PR Sreejesh to get his fourth goal of the tournament (1-1).
In the third quarter, the Dutch team took the lead for the first time following Jasper Brinkman’s penalty corner. The ball got deflected and Bijen Koen was the first to react to convert the rebound into a goal (2-1).
India tried to search for an equaliser but were weary throughout their search. With time passing quickly and two minutes left on the board, India head coach Craig Fulton decided to bring out the goalkeeper and put on an additional attacker.
Fulton’s gamble paid off as Harmanpreet brought the game on level terms with a precise drag flick (2-2). Sreejesh was put back on to the field and made three crucial saves to keep the scoreline level.
The game went to a penalty shootout and he kept Jorrit Croon and Jonas De Geus away from finding the back of the net to clinch 4-3 victory on penalties for India. (ANI)