|Hello and welcome to Sportstar’s LIVE commentary of the FIH Pro League second leg match between Indian and Netherlands at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday.|
59′ SAVE! Van der Weerden strikes it low and straight from the corner and Pathak makes a strong save which Harmanpreet picks up and clears right away.
58′ Amit Rohidas with a vital tackle on the edge of the area. The Dutch win a PC from the resultant free hit.
57′ If the scoreline stays same at full-time, then the match will go to a shootout to decide the winner of the match.
56′ Netherlands loses referral! Thierry Brinkman asks for a penalty stroke after he is taken off the ball by Rupinder Pal just inside the D. The TV umpire has a good look of the challenge and tells its a free out to India.
55′ PC for India and RUPINDER GETS THE EQUALISER! Gurjant wins a crucial corner with some help from the TV umpire. Rupinder Pal pulls his dragflick just wide off van der Weerden to find the back of the net.
54′ SAVE! India piles up bodies forwards in search of the equaliser. Chinglensana receives the ball on the edge of the area and goes for the middle left. Van der Ven dives to right to makes a crucial save.
52′ Thijs van Dam goes a brilliant solo run on the right and beats Harmanpreet all ends up. He enters the circle with the goal at his mercy, but his tame shot is saved by Krishan Pathak comfortably.
50′ GOAL MANDEEP! India wins a PC as Harmanpreet’s dragflick is stopped by Sam van der Ven as Mandeep Singh latches on to the rebound and smashes it into the low left.
49′ Flying tackles everywhere! SV Sunil tries to get the ball out of the Indian half and is blocked by Brinkman.
47′ Nilakanta Sharma plays a pass to Vivek Prasad who is robbed off the ball by Kellerman. India regains the possession and attacks through the centre but Akashdeep is unable to control a long pass.
46′ Here we go. Final 15 minutes for India to get two more goals or more. Manpreet will be back on the pitch within few seconds.
45′ After what feels like an eternity, India gets the ball into the Dutch circle as Gurinder plays a ball from the right and finds Mandeep. However, the pass has too much power behind it for Mandeep to control.
44′ The Indian defence has done a good job of shutting Netherlands channels on the wings. Nilakanta Sharma wins the ball in the centre as Harmanpreet and Surender bring out the ball from the back.
41′ Nilakanta Sharma and Chinglensana Singh battle it out on the right flank to bring out the ball. There hasn’t been much goal-mouth action for the local crowd in this drab third quarter.
40′ SAVE! Brilliant low save from Sreejesh. Mirco Pruijser’s dragflick seemed to be heading for the bottom right corner but the Indian shotstopper gets his stick in the way to quell the danger.
39′ Hamanpreet comes up with back to back blocks to deny Thijs van Dam and Glen Schuurman. Netherlands wins a PC.
37′ The Indians have went back into a cocoon as Netherlands is offered full space down the middle and the numerical advantage of the visitor give it the full control of the ball.
36′ Yellow card for Manpreet! Lars Balk is down on the pitch after coming under a challenge from Manpreet. The Indian skipper seems to have muscled the Dutch defender off the ball and receives a yellow card for the foul. The Men in Blue will be without him for the next 10 minutes.
35′ Mandeep and Gurjant set off on a counter down the left. Gurjant is put through to the goal but comes under pressure from his marker and Netherlands have a free hit.
33′ There is a clear lack of energy in the Indian midfield. Sunil wins the ball in his own half and gets it to the centre as Vivek Prasad loses the ball in the centre.
32′ PC for India! Birendra Lakra wins a corner for India after clash of sticks with Seve van Ass. Amit Rohidas takes the shot after being rolled on by Manpreet, but the Netherlands manages to deflect it away.
31′ Second half begins! India gets the third quarter underway. Akashdeep cuts in from left and passes into the box but finds no takers as the Dutch let it roll for a free hit of their own.
As the teams head into the lemon break, here are the highlights of the first match:
HALF-TIME: INDIA 1-3 NETHERLANDS
29′ PC SAVED! Krishan Pathak is called into action thrice in the matter of 20 seconds as he saves a low dragflick from van der Weerden and then swats away a shot from Pruijser and again saves a shot from Hertzberger.
27′ DUTCH SCORE TWO IN ONE MINUTE! Joroen Hertzberger flicks into the back of the net from close range to restore the visitor’s lead and then turns supplier seconds later for Bjorn Kellerman to deflect it into the net.
26′ INDIA GETS THE EQUALISER! Lalit with an instant reply. A briiliant cross into the box from Birendra Lakra reaches Lalit who has back to the goal. The forward nutmegs himself to beat the goalkeeper.
25′ GOAL NETHERLANDS! Mirco Pruijser hits Surender Kumar’s boot to win the visitor’s first corner of the match. Billy Baker’s trap isn’t clean, but Mink van der Weerden picks it up and smashes it into the top right corner.
24′ It has been a lacklustre second quarter as both sides struggle to create clear cut chances. India’s energy has dimmed down.
21′ India probes from the right and then switches flanks as Netherlands gains back the ball. Valentin Verga shoots from a difficult angle and almost gets past Krishan Pathak who scrambles to clear the ball.
18′ DOUBLE SAVE! Sumit takes out five Dutch defenders with a single pass from outside the 25 metre line as Akashdeep Singh is left with the goalkeeper to beat but Van der Ven is off his line to kick the ball away. Seconds later, the goalkeeper saves a shot from the left from Mandeep. Van der Weerden gathers the spill over to clear the danger.
16′ Netherlands goes on the offensive as Harmanpreet puts in a vital block to deny Jeroen Hertzberger a shot at the near post.
15′ Manpreet puts Mandeep through on the left but the striker hits a wayward shot which goes out for a Dutch free hit.
13′ Pruijser gets to the byline on the right hand side and cuts it back to Kellerman who does brilliantly to keep it in play and flash a cross across the face of the goal but Rohidas is in position to block it out. Harmanpreet is boxed by four Orange shirts in the corner but gets rid of the ball with a neat scoop to Vivek Prasad in the centre.
11′ Manpreet get to the byline and hits a pass to Mandeep at the near post who manages to crash his shot into the sidenetting. The angle was too difficult to beat the goalkeeper.
9′ PC and WIDE! India wins its first penalty corner of the match as Rupinder Pal Singh drags his flick wide of the left post. Bjorn Kellerman wastes too much time inside the D as the Indian defence forces an infringement from him.
6′ Miss! Lalit, who was the star of the first leg, misses another sitter in the space of two minutes. He is put through to the goal by Amit Rohidas which beats the goalkeeper. The ball bounces awkwardly for Lalit who is unable to bring it down probably with an open goal gaping at him as the ball hits his boot.
5′ Block! A frenetic start to the match as Netherlands attack from the left as Valentin Verga hits a cross but Sreejesh makes a vital block to clear the ball.
4′ Close! Mink van der Weerden is taken out by Akashdeep Singh with a defence splitting pass towards an onrushing Lalit Upadhyay whose initial shot is blocked by Sam van der Ven. The forward gets it back but bundles the ball wide off the post.
2′ WIDE! Indian forwards start from where they left yesterday. SV Sunil and Mandeep combine on the right as Mandeep takes a shot at the back post and misses it by few inches.
1′ Here we go! Mandeep Singh and Gurjant Singh press the Dutch defence immediately as the former gets a deflection off Joep de Moel. Mirco Pruijser gets a shot away from the edge of the circle as Sreejesh sticks his boot out to parry it away.
The players walk out of the tunnel for the national anthems….
- The FIH Pro League will be played between the world’s top nine ranked teams from January 17 to June 28. Each team will play the eight other teams in a two-legged tie where the matches will be played back-to-back.
A short recap of Saturday’s first leg at the Kalinga
It was a memorable for the Indians, who began their FIH Pro League debut with a stunning 5-2 over world no 3 Netherlands. Facing the bronze medallist of the previous edition was never going to be a cakewalk. But Mandeep Singh and Gurjant Singh left the Oranje shell shocked with a goal in the first 30 seconds and Rupinder Pal Singh made it 2-0 in the 3rd minute from a penalty corner. Jip Janssen pulled one back for the visitor with a superbly executed penalty corner while Joreon Hertzberger restored the parity with a clever flick just before half-time. However, the Indians came roaring into the second half as a third quarter blitz from Mandeep Singh and Lalit Upadhyay made it 4-2 for the host. Graham Reid’s side was ruthless in the final quarter as Rupinder Pal’s 47th minute dragflick found the net to round off a comprehensive victory.
Before yesterday, the sides faced off in the 2018 World Cup quarterfinals….
Thierry Brinkmann (centre) celebrates the 15th minute equaliser against India in the 2018 World Cup quarterfinal. – Biswaranjan rout
It was a high-stakes game at the same Kalinga Stadium where India, after topping Pool C, reached the quarterfinals while Netherlands thrashed Canada 5-0 to enter the last eight. Akashdeep Singh gave India the lead in the 12th minute with a field goal. But Thierry Brinkman equalised in the 15th minute to pull the Dutch level. It was not until the final quarter when a foul from Kothajit Singh gave Netherlands a crucial penalty corner which Mink van der Weerden converted. The Indians pushed for the equaliser as tensions boiled over. Amit Rohidas was suspended for the final seven minutes for a brash foul as Netherlands saw out the game to reach semifinals.
Our correspondent Uthra Ganesan previews India’s Pro League opener:
Constantly under the spotlight with the invisible burden of history, the Indian men’s hockey team will take its first steps towards yet another Olympic dream with the first game of the double-header against Netherlands in its Hockey Pro League opener here on Saturday.
The upcoming six months will be the most comprehensive Olympic preparation for the team in recent times, in terms of both quality and quantity. Having withdrawn from the inaugural edition of the competition in 2019, this year will see the team take on the world’s top-eight teams in similar back-to-back games in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics. The coming weekend would be the first test in that series, in a format the team hasn’t played too often.
The last time the team did so competitively was during the Olympic Qualifiers in November last but, with an opposition like Russia, that would be worlds away from the kind of challenge Netherlands would pose. With most European players used to it in their club games, the visitor, for once, would be in a more familiar situation than the host.
The last time the two teams met, the Dutch came back from being a goal down to end India’s World Cup campaign in the quarterfinals in 2018. India coach Graham Reid, then, was on the opposition bench as deputy to Max Caldas and would be the insider in the Indian management.
In the year since, India has had outings against teams largely ranked lower, while Netherlands finished third in the inaugural HPL. Adding to the excitement – or pressure – would be the fact there would be a winner every game with drawn matches heading into shootouts.
Despite the general impression, there is little to separate the two sides in recent times with India winning four to Netherlands’ five with a draw in the last 10 outings. The difference, though, is in the fact that while India’s wins against top sides have remained occasional high points in its kitty, Netherlands has gone on to make the podium of major events more often than not.
That experience of being able to grab the big moments would be the biggest advantage for this Dutch side. India captain Manpreet Singh admitted that most of the team’s recent games could have gone either way but it was the ability to take the half-chances that made the difference. On Saturday and Sunday, it would be more of the same. Reid, across the line now, would be hoping to finish on the winning side yet again.
– Supremely fit Indians raring to go –
The one area Indians would be more than a match for the Dutch would be in fitness. While the Indian hockey team has always been among the fittest over the past decade, the bodies on field during the final training session ahead of its game against Netherlands were completely different from what one saw even three months back.
With almost zero fat, lean muscle and improved strength and stamina, it could easily be a front-runner for the fittest Indian team at the moment.
At least seven of the players, including both seniors like Lalit Upadhyay, Manpreet Singh, Surender Kumar and youngsters Sumit and Jaskaran Singh, have managed to beat the 23.8 mark in the famed Yo-Yo test, the maximum possible, in the recent camp here.
The inside joke among the players is ‘generally sportspersons fail the Yo-Yo test. Here, Yo-Yo has failed us, get something more intense now’. A far cry from the times when the Indians were automatically assumed to be inferior to the Europeans and the Australians. For the record, the Indian cricket team’s fittest player at last count was Manish Pandey with a score of 19.2 last year.
When and where to watch India vs Netherlands hockey match?
The first match of the Hockey Pro League will begin at 5 PM IST and will be broacasted on Star Sports 2 and Star Sports HD2 channels. The match will be streamed on the Hotstar app.