The India Times Online

FIH Pro League: India Wins Penalty Shootout Against Netherlands Thanks to PR Sreejesh’s Stars

<p>In their second game of the FIH Hockey Pro League 2023–24 at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday, India defeated the Netherlands 4–2 in a dramatic shootout, with seasoned goaltender PR Sreejesh emerging as the game’s hero.</p>
<p><img decoding=”async” class=”alignnone wp-image-398340″ src=”” alt=” fih pro league india wins penalty shootout against netherlands thanks to pr sreeje” width=”936″ height=”624″ title=”FIH Pro League: India Wins Penalty Shootout Against Netherlands Thanks to PR Sreejesh's Stars 3″ srcset=” 510w,×100.jpg 150w” sizes=”(max-width: 936px) 100vw, 936px” /></p>
<p>In the shootout, Sreejesh produced two outstanding saves, and India earned a bonus point thanks to goals from Shamsher Singh, Lalit Upadhyay, Sukhjeet Singh, and Harmanpreet Singh.</p>
<p>In a dramatic 2-2 tie in regular time, Jip Janssen (30′) and Koen Bijen (39′) scored goals for the Dutch, while Hardik Singh (13′) and Harmanpreet Singh (58′) scored goals apiece for India.</p>
<p>In the first few minutes of the match, the World No. 1 team moved quickly off the starting blocks and made offensive runs within India’s circle. Despite many attempts on goal, Indian goalkeeper Krishan B Pathak held his ground to prevent the Dutch from establishing an early lead.</p>
<p>India, however, need some time to adapt. They gained back-to-back penalty corners in the twelfth minute, but they were unable to convert them, giving them their first serious opportunity.</p>
<p>India broke the tie in the next minute with an open play from Hardik. After making an incredible run along the right wing, the midfielder played the ball to Sukhjeet, who then transferred it back to Hardik. After that, Hardik expertly slid the ball into the goal at a sharp angle to give India a 1-0 lead at the conclusion of the first quarter.</p>
<p>India had a strong start to the second quarter and loved having the ball, but they were unable to pose much of a threat. They were awarded consecutive penalty corners once again, but the Dutch stopped the hosts from increasing their advantage.</p>
<p>In the 25th minute, the visitors were awarded their first penalty corner, but they were unable to capitalize on it. But in the latter moments of the first half, they persisted in their aggressive strategy and were rewarded with another penalty corner. At the break, Janssen tied the score at one with a brilliant goal into the lower corner.</p>
<p>The second half began cageyly as both sides carefully controlled the ball in the middle and didn’t provide much room. But the Netherlands managed to earn an easy penalty corner in the later part of the third quarter. Pathak stopped a drag-flick by Jasper Brinkman, but in the 39th minute, Bijen was in the right position at the right time to tuck in the rebound, giving the Dutch a 2-1 lead.</p>
<p>The Netherlands got another penalty corner with fewer than thirty seconds remaining in the third quarter, but India managed to avoid the danger.</p>
<p>The last quarter began exhilaratingly with both sides producing scoring possibilities. India repeatedly failed to find the target in the hitting circle, while the Netherlands was unable to convert its penalty corners.</p>
<p>India applied constant pressure on the Dutch, and in the 55th minute, they were awarded consecutive penalty corners, but they were unable to take advantage of the opportunity.</p>
<p>India substituted an additional outfield player for their goalie with less than three minutes remaining before the final whistle. They were then awarded a penalty corner when the Dutch defender intentionally shoved them, as seen on camera. In his 200th encounter, Harmanpreet took the initiative and scored a goal to square the score.</p>
<p>Recalled to the pitch, Sreejesh produced some outstanding saves in the last minutes as the Dutch gave it their best but were unable to hit the back of the net, resulting in a 2-2 draw at the conclusion of normal time.</p>
<p>On Thursday, February 15, India will play their third match against Australia.</p>

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