FIH Hockey Pro League: Indian women’s hockey team goes down 0-1 against Netherlands

The Indian Women’s Hockey Team lost their second match of the Rourkela leg in the FIH Hockey Pro League 2023/24 against the Netherlands 0-1.

Rourkela, Feb 14 (IANS) The Indian Women’s Hockey Team lost their second match of the Rourkela leg in the FIH Hockey Pro League 2023/24 against the Netherlands 0-1. Felice Albers (27’ minute) scored the match’s sole goal to win the encounter for the Netherlands.

The first quarter began with both teams playing aggressively. Netherlands’ first penalty corner came as early as the 2nd minute. However, Yibbi Jansen’s drag flick went wide. India’s strong and determined defence restricted the Netherlands which consistently burst forward in pursuit of a goal. In the 14th minute, the Netherlands threatened again with their best chance of the match during a penalty corner, but an acrobatic save from India’s Captain and goalkeeper, Savita, ensured a goalless first quarter.

India remained resilient in the second quarter, fending off numerous offensive waves from the Netherlands. Though India showed promise in the midfield, they struggled to penetrate the Dutch circle frequently.

India eventually gave in to the pressure when the Netherlands broke the deadlock in the 27th minute. Elzemiek Zandee’s powerful strike was booted away by Savita but Felice Albers (27’) was quick to capitalise on the rebound and delivered a composed finish to give the Netherlands the lead minutes before halftime.

While the pressure from the Netherlands was relentless in the third quarter, India’s offence looked more potent, and they put on their best performance of the match so far. Early in the third quarter, Lalremsiami played a lightning quick ball to Salima Tete from the left flank, but the pass deflected off her foot to nullify the effort. Soon after, the Netherlands nearly doubled their lead, courtesy of Joosje Burg but a tenacious Savita pulled off yet another save to maintain the scoreline 0-1. In the 36th minute, Mumtaz Khan took a thunderous strike on goal, but the attempt went wide. India took five consecutive penalty corners around the 40-minute mark, but the equaliser continued to evade them.

Savita found herself receiving a yellow card when the ball met her foot outside the stipulated area as the Netherlands engaged in a quick breakaway from a long ball. In the ensuing minutes, goalkeeper Bichu Devi did exceptionally to deny Netherlands.

An intense fourth quarter unfolded with India desperately looking for the equaliser. India broke away on a counterattack, as Neha Goyal displayed exceptional skill before she found Lalremsiami on the right flank but Netherlands’ defence managed to extinguish the threat. In the final minutes of the match, the Netherlands earned a series of penalty corners, but Savita remained steadfast in front of the goal. India were unable to break past the high-press deployed by the Dutch unit and despite their valiant effort, the Netherlands walked away with a 1-0 victory.

–IANS/hs/

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