Veteran goalkeeper PR Sreejesh played a pivotal role as he made three crucial saves in the shoot-out, securing the bonus two points for India after the match ended 2-2 in regulation time.Netherlands earned one point from the contest.
During the shoot-out, India’s captain Harmanpreet Singh, Sukhjeet Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, and Shamsher Singh all successfully scored against the Dutch.
In regulation time, Hardik Singh (13th minute) and Harmanpreet (58th) found the net for India, while Jip Janssen (30th) and Koen Bijen scored for the Netherlands.
Netherlands applied early pressure on the Indian defence in the initial eight minutes, keeping most of the play in the Indian circle.
However, the Indian defence showcased resilience and weathered the initial storm. Despite some struggles with ball possession initially, the Indian team gained confidence as the match progressed, eventually securing a thrilling victory.
In the 12th minute, India earned back-to-back penalty corners but Harmanpreet, in his 200th international match, failed to breach the Dutch defence from the set pieces.
The Indians, however, grew in confidence and took control of the proceedings.
It was a brilliant field effort from Hardik that turned the tide in India’s favor. Hardik stole the ball from the Indian half and collaborated with Sukhjeet Singh to score his 10th international goal. Their brisk counter-attack saw Hardik leading the charge, ultimately putting the ball into the net from an acute angle.
Although India had a chance from a penalty corner in the 24th minute, it was unfortunately wasted. Shortly after, Netherlands also secured a penalty corner, but Janssen’s attempt narrowly missed the target. Netherlands eventually drew level just before half-time, with Janssen scoring from a penalty corner.
In the third quarter, Netherlands took the lead from a penalty corner, with Koen Bijen capitalizing on a rebound after an initial save by Indian goalie Krishan Bahadur Pathak.
Despite trailing, India pressed hard in the final minutes, earning multiple penalty corners but failing to convert. However, a determined effort led to Harmanpreet converting a crucial penalty corner just before the final hooter, leveling the scores and forcing the game into a shoot-out.
India’s victory over Spain on Saturday and Netherlands’ dominant performance against Ireland set the stage for an exciting encounter.
India’s next challenge will be against Australia on February 15.
(With PTI inputs)