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Indian Men’s Hockey Team records 1-1 draw with Netherlands

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Barcelona: The Indian Men’s Hockey Team came up with a valiant performance against the Netherlands, which recently won the FIH Hockey Pro League 2022-23 title, to record a 1-1 draw in an intensely-fought match here at the ongoing 100th Anniversary Spanish Hockey Federation – International Tournament.

India had lost to the hosts Spain in their opening game, but they bounced back on Wednesday night with an impressive performance.

In-form captain Harmanpreet Singh scored India’s lone goal in the 12th minute, and Jasper Brinkman equalised the score for the Netherlands in the 40th. Getting off the blocks in an attacking mode, India built on early momentum, the Hockey India sources said.

They created chances in the circle and eventually secured an early lead when the team earned a penalty corner. Although it was the Dutch side that earned the first PC of the match, the flick was dragged wide to the left of the post.

India, however, made no such error when they were awarded a PC in the 12th minute. Harmanpreet Singh was on song when he picked up a fine injection by his deputy Hardik Singh and ruthlessly struck it past the Dutch goalie. The 1-0 lead in the first quarter put India in command.

In the second quarter, both teams traded PCs but neither could find success with Krishan Pathak, who stepped in for PR Sreejesh, managing some brilliant saves. India too kept the Dutch goalie Mauritis Visser busy as they earned back-to-back PCs but were unable to extend their lead.

Continuing to stay ahead with a slender lead at half-time, India looked more confident in their pursuit while the Dutch continued to hunt for that elusive first goal. The third quarter began with both teams winning a PC each.

Returning to the post, experienced Sreejesh remained calm in his endeavour to keep the opponents from converting a PC while Visser too remained as impressive, stopping India from scoring a second. Finally, it was the experienced dragflicker Jasper Brinkman who broke the deadlock for the Dutch as he levelled scores with a splendid effort to convert the PC.

In the dying minutes of the third quarter, India produced an excellent counter-attack led by Harmanpreet to regain the lead. But he could not find the gap to penetrate the circle.

The fourth quarter remained tense with both teams pushing for a lead. Though they both created several chances, they could not convert, thus the game ending at a 1-1 stalemate.

Indian Men’s Hockey Team will next take on England in their third game of the tournament on July 28 at 16:30 IST.

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