The Netherlands men secured the top of the FIH Pro League standings with a 2-1 win over India following England’s loss to Belgium. A fabulous run from Abishek was a display of superb individual skill and 3D moves as he finished on the run to make it 1-0 for India in the opening minute of the game.
Netherlands found a response six minutes later as Jip Janssen pulled the trigger on his trademark penalty corner flick to level the game in the opening quarter. Indian keeper Sreejesh was called to action against Janssen again and again to deny a series of penalty corner saves.
A desperate stick tackle from Jorrit Croon on Gurjant Singh gave India the chance from the stroke mark. Maurits Visser had the crowd roaring as he made the save on the flick from Harmanpreet. Janssen then had another penalty corner flick denied by Sreejesh and the rebound shot hit the crossbar and the game remained level, 1-1, at half time.
In the third quarter, Terrance Pieters thought he made it 2-1 for the Dutch after his slick deflection on a long ball into the circle flew past the post of the Indian goal. It was a sign of what was to come though as Janssen changed up his penalty corner routine, this time looking back to the near post. Jorrit Croon’s reverse-stick deflection gave the Dutch the 2-1 advance.
Visser denied two penalty corner saves in the final quarter including a rocket from Kumar Varun but the Dutch were able to hang on to their lead and take the three points.
“We are feeling good (about the win) in front of our home crowd,” said Lars Balk, named Player of the Match after the game. “It was a tough season with a lot of nice matches. (Today’s match) was one of the best games of our league.”