India lose to Netherlands 2-4 on penalties in FIH Hockey Pro League

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ROURKELA: The Indian men’s hockey team went down against the Netherlands in the shootout (2-4) in their sixth match of the FIH Hockey Pro League after the game was locked at 1-1 at the end of regulation time on Wednesday at the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium.

In the shootout, Araijeet Singh Hundal and Lalit Kumar were on target for India, while Jorrit Croon, Thierry Brinkman, Duco Telgenkamp and Joep de Mol were on target for the Netherlands, as per a Hockey India press release.

Hardik Singh (38′) scored the lone goal for India, while Floris Middendorp (4′) was on the scoresheet for the Netherlands in regulation time.

The Indian team found themselves under pressure early in the first quarter as the Netherlands were putting the Indian defenders on the backfoot with their attacking. The strategy paid off as the Netherlands broke the deadlock early in the game when Floris Middendorp (4′) found the back of the net to give them a 1-0 lead.

The Indian Team gradually settled in and had a better share of ball possession. With just seconds remaining at the end of the first quarter, the Netherlands earned a PC but Krishan Pathak’s superb two saves kept the score at 1-0 in favour of the Netherlands at the end of the first quarter.

In the beginning of the second quarter, India made an aggressive start in the opening minutes as they put pressure on the Netherlands’ defence with constant attacks, but were unable to find an equalizer. India had better ball possession for the majority of the second quarter as Mandeep and Amit Rohidas created goalscoring chances but were denied by a strong defence display from the Netherlands. Going into the half-time, the Netherlands led India 1-0.
In their bid to find ways to get back in the game, the Indian Team stepped up their ante. With India putting constant pressure on the Netherlands defenders, India earned a PC after Mandeep made a fine run from the left flank, but they failed to capitalize on the opportunity as the shot went wide.

Minutes later, India scored an equalizer, thanks to Hardik Singh’s brilliant effort in the 38th minute. His goal resulted from a skilful rebound off a penalty corner. At the end of the third quarter, the score was tied 1-1.

With 15 minutes left on the clock, India started mounting more pressure on the Netherlands. The Indian team continued with intent and created various goalscoring opportunities, but the Netherlands defence was up to the mark, ending the regulation time with a 1-1 scoreline.

India will face Australia in their sixth match on Saturday, February 24, at 1930 hrs IST. India is at fourth place with two wins, three draws and a loss, giving them a total of 11 points. (ANI)

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