Waalwijk (The Netherlands), Aug 13 (IANS) Captain Manpreet Singh’s brace helped India beat home side Netherlands 4-3 here on Sunday in a thrilling hockey encounter of the Robo Super Series, part of India’s tour of Europe.
It was double goals by Manpreet in the 30th and 44th minutes of the match, Varun Kumar’s 17th-minute goal and Harjeet Singh’s 49th-minute strike that helped India beat the Dutch who had a great build-up to the series with a 7-1 win over Germany last week.
Coming off two successive defeats to Belgium, India made a strong start with forward Ramandeep Singh finding an early chance to score.
Soon after, Netherlands drew first blood when they won a penalty corner in the fifth minute. The drag flick, however, found the foot of skipper Manpreet Singh resulting in a penalty stroke. Seasoned set-piece specialist Mink van der Weerden stepped up to convert the penalty stroke.
India got over the early jitters with a strong display, largely controlling the midfield led by Manpreet who showcased top quality skill and stick work.
The attacking approach helped with India finding a penalty corner opportunity in the 17th minute. Junior World Cup hero Varun successfully beat Dutch goalkeeper to pull India level.
India pushed the World No.4 team further when Manpreet brilliantly deflected young forward Armaan Qureshi’s cross pass in the 30th minute to give India a 2-1 lead. India controlled the first half with better ball possession and opportunities created in the striking circle.
The contest intensified in the third quarter with Manpreet taking a brilliant shot on goal but the Dutch keeper came up with a class act to pad it away.
The following minutes saw the Dutch being awarded back to back penalty corners but comeback man Amit Rohidas was effective as first runner to deny Dutch successful conversion.
India then launched a thrilling counter attack to put Netherlands under pressure but the Dutch goalkeeper made a good save again.
The third quarter however ended with India skipper Manpreet scoring another goal in the 44th minute to give India a 3-1 lead and take charge of the game.
India stayed on course to a win with Harjeet giving a formidable lead with a well-struck field goal in the 49th minute. The final minutes were thrilling with Nilakanta Sharma making a strong attempt on goal but it was saved by Dutch defender.
Though Bob de Voogd scored two goals for the Dutch, India sealed the match 4-3 and walked away with winning point.
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