Men's FIH Pro League: Netherlands men off to winning start in Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar, Feb 10 (IANS) The Netherlands men got the second mini-tournament of the FIH Hockey Pro League ioff to a perfect start with an emphatic 5-1 victory over newcomers Ireland at the Kalinga Stadium here on Saturday.

Floris Wortelboer celebrated his 100th cap for the Netherlands in a hard-fought 5-1 win over Ireland. The Dutch stamped their authority on the match early, pressing high and applying immense pressure on the Irish defence.

Tjep Hoedemakers opened the scoring off a short corner variation in the 12th minute, deflecting a rocketed pass over the postman’s head from a metre wide of goal. Jorrit Croon made it two in the 21st minute, swatting in a rebound off Jamie Carr’s mask after Joep de Mol had opened up the defence with great acceleration along the baseline.

Ireland had some good opportunities, but missed a penalty corner and then clattered one into the upright from open play to trail 2-0 at half-time.

The third quarter served up plenty of action. Carr made two good saves for Ireland before Jip Janssen scored his 50th goal for the Netherlands from a penalty stroke in the 35th minute, the IFH said in a report on Saturday.

Within a minute Lee Cole responded for Ireland with a penalty stroke from a foul that resulted in a Dutch player receiving a 10-minute yellow card. The Netherlands’ problems grew worse when they were reduced to nine men with a green card three minutes later.

This prompted the Irish to press hard but they couldn’t convert from two penalty corners, Pirmin Blaak making an excellent save as the quarter came to an end. The Netherlands regained control in the final quarter, Janssen scoring his second from a drag flick after 52 minutes, and Steijn van Heijningen adding one off an unlucky defender a minute later.

–IANS

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