|Hello and welcome to Sportstar’s LIVE commentary of the FIH Pro League first leg match between Indian and Netherlands at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Saturday.|
51′ PC for India! India goes for a variation as Sunil fluffs the cut back from Harmanpreet. Netherlands counter but Chinglensana comes up with a vital tackle to deny Pruijser.
50′ India pin the Dutch back in their own half. Mandeep and Lalit win back to back free hit as the Indians go backwards to build from the back.
48′ Netherlands gets back the ball as Brinkman loses the ball on the edge of the area. The forward looks at the umpire exasperated but there is not much he could do.
46′ GOAL INDIA! Fifth successful referral for India wins penalty corner as Rupinder Pal smashes it straight down the middle to make it 5-2 for the Indians.
46′ The final quarter begins! Netherlands defence is caught napping as Surender crosses into the box from the left. Lalit and Balk go for the ball as the Indian forward asks for a video referral.
45′ Nilakanta Sharma puts in a challenge inside the area to win the ball as India counters quickly to win a free hit at the other end. The hooter goes off bringing an end to the third quarter.
43′ Another PC for Netherlands. There is a miscommunication between the stopper and the dragflicker but the Indians fails to clear their lines. Pruijser’s second dragflick takes a deflection off Rohidas’ foot and the defender is there once again to thwart a third PC from the visitor.
42′ Manpreet goes on a brilliant run down the left as the Indian skipper sends a diving pass towards Sunil in the middle. Netherlands wins the ball back as Brinkman wins a PC for Netherlands.
40′ Brilliant work from Lalit Updhyay who has been a thorn in the Netherlands defence today. The forward shakes off two defender just outside the 25 metre line and clipped by Van der Weerden as India wins a free hit.
39′ Van Pufferlen gets a loose ball inside the circle as Rupinder Pal puts in a tenacious tackle to win a free hit for the host. The defender is seen clutching his ear after receiving a hit from one of the Dutch sticks.
38′ PC for India! This has to a record as India wins a third straight referral to win a short corner. Harmanpreet’s dragflicks is blocked by first runner Lars Balk.
36′ GOAL HARMANPREET! A delightful one-two between Harmanpreet and Lalit helps the former create angle on the left and find the bottom corner once again. The two-goal cushion is back for India.
35′ Close! Akashdeep does brilliantly to get into the right flank and slices open the Dutch defence with a squared pass but Gurjant, who just has the keeper to beat, fluffs his lines.
34′ There is a cluster of blue in the Dutch area but Sunil manages to hit the ball over the line. Manpreet asks for a referral and wins a PC for India. Rupinder Pal stands over the set-piece and aims for the far right corner only to miss it by a good arm’s length.
33′ GOAL MANDEEP! Harmanpreet’s vital intervention in the centre puts Manpreet in a perfect position to thread a pass to Mandeep who takes two touches to finish at the far bottom corner.
31′ Second half begins! Netherlands does well to stop an attack which comes from a run from Gurjant and Mandeep.
HALF-TIME: INDIA 2-2 NETHERLANDS
30′ PC for the Dutch! Brinkman wins a PC for the visitor but Sreejesh does well to keep out Van der Weerden’s dragflick. Lakra does the mop up work to keep Pruijser away from the spill over.
28′ GOAL NETHERLANDS! Diego van Pufferlen and Baker combine on the left as van Pufferlen cuts it back towards Jeroen Hertzberger who flicks it into the back of the net to pull his team level.
26′ WIDE! Netherlands looks settled in the game. Valentin Verga dribbles past four Indian defenders and switches flanks as Kellerman hits the ball on the turn, missing the far post by few inches.
25′ PC for Netherlands? The umpire awards a corner to the Dutch after a tackle by Rupinder on Brinkman. India asks for a referral and wins it as the TV umpire awards a free hit from outside the circle to India.
24′ Netherlands make another circle entry as Brinkman gets past Rohidas but Sreejesh comes off his line to narrow the angle.
22′ Brinkman loses the possession to Harmanpreet who plays it to Manpreet who escapes a tackle and finds Vivek Prasad on the right.
20′ Sreejesh makes a smart save to deny Van der Weerden from the third attempt. Pruijser wins the second ball but Rohidas stops him in his tracks.
19′ PC for Netherlands! Pruijser takes the shot but is blocked by Amit Rohidas as the umpire awards another PC for the Dutch. The visitor goes for the same move and is again denied by Rohidas as the umpire awards a third PC.
18′ A slick interchange of passes between Surender Kumar and Nilakanta Sharma sees the latter thread a pass through to Sunil in the area but the veteran is unable to get there in time. Billly Baker puts Thierry Brinkman through but the forward crashes it into the sidenetting.
16′ The second quarter begins. Lalit fails the collect a pass in the center as Netherlands counters from the move. Sreejesh makes a vital block to win India the ball.
15′ Mandeep receives a lofted ball over the defence on the left and tries to dribbles past three Dutch defenders but manages to win a long free hit. Amit Rohidas takes it but the ball rolls away for a Dutch free hit as the umpire blows the whistle to end a thrilling first quarter.
14′ Floris Wortelboer cuts out a pass from Sumit in the Indian half and seems to have pulled a muscle in his forearm and is subbed off by Max Caldas.
13′ PC for India! Sunil wins a corner for India but Harmanpreet’s dragflick is blocked out. The Dutch set off on a counter attack as Seve van Ass finds himself at the far post, only to be denied by Krishan Pathak.
13′ GOAL NETHERLANDS! Netherlands wins its first corner of the match as the Oranje go with the second battery of Jip Janssen who smashes into the bottom right corner to reduce the arrears.
11′ GOAL INDIA! Rupinder Pal Singh stands over the short corner as his dragflick takes a wicked deflection off the first runner and goes into the back of the net. What a start this has been from India.
11′ Harmanpreet shows brilliant anticipation to cut out a Netherlands free hit as India counters through Lalit Upadhyay. Mink van der Weerden takes the ball off the winger on the edge of the D. India asks for a referral and wins a PC.
9′ Sunil goes on a lung-bursting run on the right flank and reaches the byline, but Van der Weerden puts in a tackle to haul the forward off the ball. Surender Kumar finds Gurjant in space on the left but the striker gives a free hit to the Dutch.
7′ Harmanpreet puts in a strong tackle to dispossess Jeroen Hertzberger as Manpreet mops up the loose ball.
5′ Netherlands defence is all over the place as SV Sunil receives a pass inside the area and turns around Van der Weerden and passes it to Sumit, but the umpire blows his whistle.
3′ Mirco Pruijser squares off a pass at the far post but Indian goalkeeper Krishan Pathak blocks it midway. Harmanpreet wins back the ball on the right and wins a free hit in the second quarter of the pitch.
1′ Here we go. AND GOAL! Stunning start by the Indians. Netherlands begins the proceedings as Gurjant Singh wins the ball and plays it towards Mandeep Singh who pulls it back for Gurjant who smashes it into the back of the net.
- 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.
Few more minutes to kick start the FIH Men’s Pro League….
Last time around
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.
Head-to-Head: There has been little to separate the two sides over the past 10 encounters with India winning four matches and Netherlands emerging victorious five times. The teams played out a 1-1 draw in the 2018 Champions Trophy round robin clash in Breda.
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 7 PM IST and will be broacasted on Star Sports 1 and Star Sports HD1 channels. The match will be streamed on the Hotstar app.