New Delhi December 13 : in an edge of the seat encounter, two-time champion India staged a stunning come from behind victory as they piped Netherlands 4-3 to storm into, the semi-finals of the Hockey Junior World Cup at the National Hockey Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Thursday.
For India who trailed 0-2 at half time and 2-3 in the third quarter. , Aditya Arjun Lalage (34’), Araijeet Singh Hundal (35’), Sourabh Anand Kushwaha (52’) and captain Uttam Singh (57’) scored the goals while Timo Boers (5’), Pepijn van der Heijden (16’) and Olivier Hortensius (44’) netted for the Dutch team.
Trailing by two goals till the 34th minute, the Men-in-Blue virtually snatched victory from the jaws of defeats as they pumped in four goals in a space of 23-minutes to knock the bewildered Dutchmen out of contention.
In a match that lived up to the billing of a Quarter Final encounter between world no.3 India and world no.4 Netherlands, India exhibited immense resilience to qualify for the Semi-Finals where they will take on Germany on the 14th of December.
The Netherlands opened the match on a very furious pace earning a penalty corner in the 5th minute which was converted by Timo Boers..
Though Indians soon regained their rhythm and displayed a solid defence, Pepijn van der Heijden (16’) scored for the Netherlands in the second quarter through another penalty corner conversion taking their lead to 2-0 at half-time.
India came back strongly in the third quarter with a goal from Aditya Lalage (34’) assisted by Araijeet Singh Hundal. Two minutes later Araijeet scored the equalizer for India with a penalty stroke. (2-2)
The Indians s kept the pressure on the Dutch but they managed yet another penalty corner that was converted by Olivier Hortensius (44’) late in the third quarter as the Dutch snatched a narrow lead of one goal at the end of the third quarter.
With less than ten minutes remaining, the Indians raised the pace of their game and it proved fruitful as Sourabh Anand Kushwaha (52’) found the back of the net off a rebound following a brilliant attack to get the score reading 3-3.
Another opportunity for a penalty corner conversion was created, this time in favour of India and they made full use of it with Captain Uttam Singh (57’) scoring to put India ahead with just three minutes left. With just a couple of minutes left on the clock, the pressure was on the Dutch to equalize.
Indian victory was backed by a grand show of character to hold off pressure from the Dutch side, and the cynosure of defence was Rohit who was hard to breach – as he blocked away six successive PCs in the final quarter ensuring India emerge victorious. He was awarded player of the match for his efforts.