Hockey

Champions Trophy: Indians subdue the Dutch

HOISTING THE LEAD: Manpreet Singh put India 2-1 ahead with a strike in the 47th minute. Photo: Sandeep Saxena

HOISTING THE LEAD: Manpreet Singh put India 2-1 ahead with a strike in the 47th minute. Photo: Sandeep Saxena  

Finish third in Pool B

After two morale-sapping defeats, India finally regained a lot of confidence by notching up a 3-2 upset win over World Cup silver medallist and second-ranked Netherlands in its final Pool B match of the Champions Trophy hockey tournament at the Kalinga Stadium here on Tuesday.

The home team, which opened its account with three points earned from this unexpected victory, finished third in its pool and will meet Pool A’s second-placed side Belgium in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

The Netherlands frontline, especially the trio of Jeroen Hertzberger, Sander Baart and Rogier Hofman, showed tremendous understanding and agility to invade the Indian circle at lightning speed and came close to taking the lead on several occasions.

Fabulous saves

But India remained unaffected mainly due to some fabulous saves by its brave goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh. V.R. Raghunath and Rupinderpal Singh, who were tested on numerous instances, withstood the nervous moments. Against the run of play, India grabbed the lead early in the third quarter. Bubbling with energy, young Gurjinder Singh launched a long-range slap shot and S.V. Sunil deflected it in to trigger celebrations in the stands. The Dutch lost a bit of advantage as its referral challenging the goal did not yield the desired result.

The Netherlands, however, replied strongly as van der Weerden shot high to convert his side’s third short corner in the 36th minute.

India scored its second goal as man-of-the-match Manpreet slid to put it in after rival custodian Pirmin Blaak blocked two consecutive attempts in the 47th minute.

Two minutes later, the host earned its third penalty corner and Rupinderpal rolled it in a bit late as the whole stadium erupted in joy. van der Weerden pulled one back in the closing minutes, but that was not enough to prevent India from securing its third victory ever over the Netherlands in the Champions Trophy. India had last beaten the Dutch way back in 1986.

England fought back to hold Belgium to a 1-1 draw and top Pool A with seven points. Belgium took the second place with five points from one win and two draws. Australia banked on Jeremy Hayward’s brace to register its first victory and settle for the third spot in Pool A.

Argentina beat Germany 3-0 to post its second win and take the second place behind the Netherlands in Pool B with six points.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 9:41:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/champions-trophy-indians-subdue-the-dutch/article6677049.ece

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