PR Sreejesh Hands India Win Over Netherlands In FIH Pro League
Veteran goalkeeper PR Sreejesh turned out to be the saviour as the Indian men's hockey team defeated world number one Netherlands 4-2 via a shoot-out in the FIH Pro League in Bhubaneswar on Sunday. Sreejesh made three fine saves in the shoot-out to hand India the bonus two points after both the teams were locked at 2-2 at the end of regulation 60 minutes. Netherlands took one points from the match. In the shoot-out, skipper Harmanpreet Singh, Sukhjeet Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay and Shamsher Singh scored for world number three India.
In the regulation time, Hardik Singh (13th minute) and Harmanpreet (58th) found the net for India, while Jip Janssen (30th) and Koen Bijen scored for the Dutch.
Netherlands put the home team defence under pressure in the initial eight minutes of the match with play mostly restricted to the Indian circle.
But the Indian defence dished out a solid performance to weather the initial storm.
The Indians initially failed to keep possession of the ball but gained in confidence as the match progressed.
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 took a brilliant field effort from Hardik to hand India the lead after Netherlands' early domination.
Hardik stole the ball from the Indian half and joined hands with Sukhjeet Singh to score his 10th international goal.
It came off a brisk counter-attack with Hardik at the forefront as he teamed up with Sukhjeet before putting the ball into the net from an acute angle.
Hardik then earned India a penalty corner in the 24th minute, but the chance was wasted.