FIH Pro League: Indian women’s hockey team goes down 1-3 against the Netherlands

The Indian women’s hockey team lost 1-3 against the Netherlands in the FIH Hockey Pro League 2023/24 at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium, here on Sunday. The Netherlands’ Yibbi Jansen (3’, 34’) and Fay van der Elst (21’) etched their name on the scoresheet. Navneet Kaur (9‘) scored the only goal for India.

The Indian women’s hockey team lost 1-3 against the Netherlands in the FIH Hockey Pro League 2023/24 at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium, here on Sunday. The Netherlands’ Yibbi Jansen (3’, 34’) and Fay van der Elst (21’) etched their name on the scoresheet. Navneet Kaur (9‘) scored the only goal for India.

India’s goalkeeper Savita was called to action right from the get-go, saving successive shots at her goal. Soon after, the Netherlands were awarded a penalty corner and this season’s leading goalscorer, Yibbi Jansen, powered a shot down the middle of the goal to grant the Netherlands an early lead.

As the Netherlands looked to sit back and absorb the pressure, an Indian counterattack caught them by surprise. Sunelita Toppo ventured down the right wing and found Navneet Kaur at the top of the shooting circle who turned around and unleashed a thunderous strike that brought India back on level terms.

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The Netherlands came close to scoring as the second quarter began when Pien Dicke dodged past the Indian defence but her shot hit the post and deflected away. India went on to create a goalscoring chance of their own as Sunelita found herself in acres of space, and picked out Vandana Katariya who was one-on-one with the Netherlands’ goalkeeper Josine Koning, but she rushed out to diffuse the situation.

India continued to look for a chink in Netherlands’ armour but Laura Nunnink initiated a counterattack and sprayed a quick pass to Fay van der Elst who dove to deflect the ball past Savita and restored Netherlands’ lead. Both teams went on to earn a couple of penalty corners but the scoreline remained 2-1 at the end of the first half.

The Netherlands piled pressure on India in the third quarter, eventually earning a penalty corner and Yibbi Jansen let loose a powerful drag flick to beat Savita and make it 3-1. They were awarded another penalty corner soon after; however, Savita battered away the shot on goal. As India searched for a goal, they occasionally pushed the Netherlands back into their own half but were unable to stitch together the final pass.

The fourth quarter witnessed the game become stretched with both teams creating back-to-back chances. India went on to earn a penalty corner two minutes into the quarter but the Netherlands’ defence held sway.

As the exchange of chances continued, Yibbi Jansen looked to extend Netherlands’ lead with a reverse shot from the top of the shooting circle but it bounced off the post again. Netherlands pegged India back as the quarter progressed but a quick counter saw India earn a penalty corner. However, Udita’s slap sailed just wide of the post.

The last period of play saw the Netherlands keep hold of the ball to kill off the game and the contest ended 3-1 in their favour.

India will take on Australia next on February 7.

 (IANS)

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