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India hold Netherlands, to meet Australia in finals

Mandeep Singh

Breda (Netherlands), June 30: India held their nerves to hold the hosts Netherlands to a 1-1 draw and enter the final of the Champions Trophy against Australia.

This is only the second time in the history of the tournament that India are making it to the final. The last time they entered the title clash was in 2016, when they had to settle for the second place.

The final will be held at 7.30pm IST.

It was Mandeep Singh (47th minute) who scored the crucial goal for India in the thrilling encounter while Thierry Brinkman (55th) scored the equaliser for the home team.

There was plenty of action in the first quarter with both teams vying for a place in the final.

India created a goal-scoring opportunity first with youngster Dilpreet Singh making the right call to ask for a video referral. The video umpire ruled in India' favour for a dangerous ball in the striking circle, though Harmanpreet Singh's powerful flick was brilliantly parried away by Dutch goalkeeper Sam van der Ven.

Immediately though, the home team launched a quick-fire counter with Seve van Ass taking a shot on goal. But with an in-form PR Sreejesh continuing his outstanding form at the goalpost made it difficult for the Dutch to convert.

India won their second penalty corner, thanks to Dilpreet again, but a variation saw Harmanpreet pass the ball to Varun Kumar after Sardar's injection, but Varun could not get a strong push which was cleared quite effortlessly by the Dutch goalkeeper.

Though India conceded three penalty corners, the scoreboard remained goalless till the lemon break.

The third quarter was exciting with the Netherlands dominating with ball possession, making almsot 20 circle entries and taking six shots on goal, while India had made just 12 circle entries with four shots on goal.

India opened the fourth quarter all guns blazing. The efforts won them their third penalty corner of the match in the opening minute.

Though Harmanpreet's flick rebounded off the Dutch goalkeeper, he moved up front swiftly to put the ball into the goal and fetched his team the much-needed 1-0 lead in the 47th minute.

With time ticking away, Dutch fans rallied behind their home team. The home support worked with Thierry Brinkman scoring goal from the baseline, beating Amit Rohidas's block to put the ball past Sreejesh and equalise.

With just a little over a minute left for the final hooter, Dutch won three back-to-back penalty corners, but India held their nerves to hang on to a draw and set up a final against Australia.

Source: Hockey India

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Story first published: Saturday, June 30, 2018, 22:35 [IST]
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