Robo Super Series: Manpreet’s brace help India beat Netherlands in thriller

Waalwijk [Netherlands]: Skipper Manpreet Singh scored twice as Indian men’s hockey team came out with a spectacular performance to defeat home side Netherlands 4-3 in a thrilling encounter here at the Robo Super Series on Sunday.

It was double goals by Manpreet in the 30th and 44th minute of the match, Varun Kumar‘s 17th minute goal and Harjeet Singh‘s 49th minute brace that helped the number sixth-ranked Indian team beat the Dutch, who had a great build-up to the series with a 7-1 win over Germany last week.

Though India made a strong start with forward Ramandeep Singh finding an early chance to score, his attempt went slightly wide. Soon after, Netherlands drew first blood when they won a PC in the fifth minute.

The drag flick, however, found the foot of skipper Manpreet resulting in a re-award, which subsequently went into a penalty stroke. Mink van der Weerden broke no sweat in putting the ball past India goalkeeper Akash Chikte to give the Dutch a 1-0 lead.

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 PC opportunity in the 17th minute.

Varun successfully beat Dutch goalkeeper to equalise the score. Though the Netherlands earned a PC soon after, the effort was tactfully saved by India goalkeeper.

India pushed the world number four team further when Manpreet brilliantly deflected 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 PC but comeback man Amit Rohidas was effective as first runner to deny Dutch successful conversion.

India then set up 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 taking the lead to a formidable 4-2 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. ( ANI)