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Netherlands end end Australia’s unbeaten streak as India finish on winning note vs Ireland

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Lausanne, Switzerland – The Netherlands men brought an end to Australia’s unbeaten run in the FIH Hockey Pro League with a methodical performance on the final day of action in Rourkela, India on Sunday.

 The 5-3 victory saw the Dutch avenging their loss to the same opposition nine days earlier and also consolidating their top spot in the standings with 26 points from their 12 matches so far. Australia are second with 20 points from their eight matches.

India currently occupy third place after wrapping up their home mini-tournament with a 4-0 victory over Ireland on Sunday to move up to 15 points from their eight matches so far.

FIH Hockey Pro League action now moves to Antwerp, Belgium where matches will resume on 22 May.

(Men’s) Australia 3 – 5 Netherlands

 The Netherlands looked composed in their 5-3 win over Australia in what was a clash between the top two sides in the men’s standings. The Australians had the upper hand in the opening minutes and Jacob Anderson opened the scoring for them in the sixth minute, his lightning-fast reactions ensuring he got stick on a deflected pass to tap in at the left post. They lost some momentum through player suspensions and the Dutch got a goal back in the 13th minute, Duco Telgenkamp bunting in from close range after a good team move along the baseline. Telgenkamp added a second from an almost identical position in the 20th, getting a stick in front of his defender to deflect in the acute cross from the left. Neither team could find another goal in the half, although Andrew Charter in the Aussie goal pulled off a good penalty corner double save and then moved quickly to reduce the angle from the third shot to prevent a goal.

 The Dutch turned the screws in the third quarter, attacking for long periods and earning seven penalty corners. That allowed Jip Janssen to extend his lead at the top of the goalscoring table with a powerful drag flick in the 35th minute, and Tjep Hoedemakers deflected in from a penalty corner variation to the right post in the 42nd. The Kookaburras threatened a comeback with Tim Brand deflecting in from their first possession of the final quarter, but Terrance Pieters nipped it in the bud with a 48th-minute field goal. Jeremy Hayward scored a big drag flick for Australia seven minutes later, but the Netherlands emerged as comfortable winners against the previously unbeaten Kookaburras.

The player of the match went to Thierry Brinkman of the Netherlands who said: “The most important thing is that we learnt from the first game against Australia. We did quite a lot of things much better than the first game against them, so I’m really proud of the team, a good tournament here for us.”

(Men’s) India 4 – 0 Ireland

 Hosts India put in a clinical performance to beat Ireland 4-0 in the final match of the FIH Hockey Pro League mini-tournament in Rourkela. Ireland played positive attacking hockey throughout, but were inaccurate in front of goal and it was India who had the killer touch when it mattered. Nilakanta Sharma opened the scoring in the 14th minute, a penalty corner variation deflecting off the first wave and landing in his arc for a first-time smash. Akashdeep Singh made it two with a deflection from a flat pass across the goal a minute later and India led 2-0 at half-time, although Sreejesh had arguably been the busier goalkeeper.

 Sreejesh was called into action again at the start of the second half as Ireland continued to attack without reward. Gurjant Singh then made a great diving deflection to extend India’s lead in the 38th minute and India started taking more control of the match. Goalkeepers Jamie Carr for Ireland and Sreejesh for India had to make important saves throughout the final quarter, and it was Jugraj Singh who closed the book on the mini-tournament with a well-placed drag flick in the final seconds, much to the delight of the home fans.

 India’s Manpreet Singh was named player of the match and said: “We are really proud of the game we played today… It’s awesome when we play here in Bhubaneswar or Rourkela, the crowd is amazing here, they always support us, and we are really proud to be here, it’s our second home.”

 Top Scorer Armband

 To celebrate the talented goal-scorers throughout the season the FIH has introduced the Top Scorer Armband, which is being worn by the leading goal-scorers in the men’s and women’s competitions in the current season, as a visual mark for the fans, and for the players to wear proudly, match after match.

Current Top Scorers:

Women – Yibbi Jansen (NED) (15 goals)

Men – Jip Janssen (NED) (12 goals)

 To see the current standings in the FIH Hockey Pro League, click here. 

 FIH Pro League – 25 February 2024

Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium, Rourkela (IND)

 Result: Match 31 (M)
Australia 3 – 5 Netherlands
Player of the match: Thierry Brinkman (NED)
Umpires: Martin Madden (SCO), Gareth Greenfield (NZL), David Tomlinson (NZL-video)

Result: Match 32 (M)

India 4 – 0 Ireland 

Player of the match: Manpreet Singh (IND)

Umpires: David Tomlinson (NZL), Kristy Robertson (AUS), Junko Wagatsuma (JPN-video)

-FIH

 

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