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India defeated Netherlands in a thriller to win the bronze medal at the World Hockey League finals at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Stadium, Raipur just few moments. It was one of the best match of the tournament as India was trailing in the first half but came back brilliantly in the second half. The match was played on excllent pace as both teams played aggressive hockey. India won a medal in a major tournament after 33 years.
In the first quarter Netherlands started well getting the first chance in the 3rd minute but could not convert the chance. In the 6th minute the Indian forward player was not able intercept the ball. In the 8th minute India got a chance but could not convert the chance into a goal. In the 9th minute Prujiser hit a powerful shot to give Netherlands a 1-0 lead. In the 10th minute Danish Mustaba made a solo run but the umpire gave a free hit to Netherlands. In the 13th minute a great shot was well saved by P Sreejesh. In the 14th minute SV Sunil made a solo run from left and gave a pass to Talwinder which hit his foot. At the end of 1st quarter Netherlands led 1-0.
In the second quarter Netherlands missed a great chance of scoring a goal in the 2nd minute. The next moment SV Sunil hit the shot wide off the goal post. In the 4th minute Netherlands entered into the “D” but was well defended by Kothajit. In the 5th minute Netherlands missed another chance of scoring a goal. In the 6th minute a shot was well saved by P Sreejesh. In the 8th and 9th minute Netherlands attacked as the first one was well saved by P Sreejesh and the second one was well defended by Rupinder Pal Singh. In the 10th minute a reverse flick from Van Schoot gave Netherlands a 2-0 lead. In the 11th minute India was awarded a penalty corner and the shot hit the defender as the umpire awarded penalty stroke but India asked for a review but the video umpire gave the decision in favor of Netherlands. In the 14th minute India was awarded another penalty corner but the chance was not converted into a goal. At the end of 2nd quarter Netherlands led 2-0.
In the 3rd quarter Netherlands began on a positive note as they missed a chance in the 2nd minute. In the 4th minute India was awarded a penalty corner but the dragflicker was not able to trap the ball properly. In the 6th minute the Dutch attacker made an excellent move but it was well saved by P Sreejesh. In the 7th minute Netherlands was awarded a penalty corner but fail to convert the chance into a goal. In the 8th minute Netherlands made another excellent move but was again well saved by Sreejesh. In the 9th minute a pass from Mandeep Singh and a brilliant shot by Ramandeep Singh reduced the gap to 1-2. In the 10th minute Jonker missed an excellent chance of scoring a goal. In the last few minutes India missed a chance of scoring a goal. At the end of 3rd quarter Netherlands led 2-1.
In the 4th quarter India began aggressively as they got the first penalty corner of the quarter in the 2nd minute as Rupinder Pal Singh converted the penalty corner into a goal to equal the score at 2-2. In the 4th minute Akashdeep Singh missed a narrow chance of scoring a goal. In the 6th minute a excellent pass from outside the “D” and Ramandeep Singh scored a goal to give India a 3-2 lead. In the 8th minute Netherlands missed a chance of scoring a goal. In the 9th minute Netherlands was awarded a penalty corner and Weerden scored the goal to level the score at 3-3. In the 10th minute India was awarded a penalty corner but the umpire gave a penalty stroke and Netherlands asked for a review but the decision went in favor of India, Netherlands lost the review. Rupinder Pal Singh scored from penalty stroke and gave India a 4-3 lead. In the next minute Mandeep Singh gave a pass to Sardar Singh and then Akashdeep scored a goal to give India 5-3 lead. In the 13th minute Netherlands was awarded a penalty corner. The umpire then awarded Netherlands a penalty stroke for a touching defender leg. Weerden scored an goal from the stroke to reduce the gap to 4-5. In the last 27 sec India missed an excellent chance of scoring a goal. In the last 5 second Netherlands was awarded a penalty corner and Weerden scored a goal to equal the score at 5-5 and force into a penalty shootout.
The scorer for Netherlands was Barker, Van Ass while Hertzburger, Prujiser and last taker missed the goal. From India Lakra, Sardar scored the goal while Danish and Aamir missed the chances. The last shot was awarded a penalty stroke and Rupinder Pal Singh scored a goal to clinch the bronze medal for India and won it by 3-2.
This medal for India will help Indian hockey to work harder for the Rio Olympics and bring back glory for the country.