India goalie PR Sreejesh's quality performance during the shootout helped the home team win bronze medal as they defeated the Netherlands in the Hockey World League Final in Raipur on Sunday. India won the game 3-2 (in shoot out) after the game ended 5-5 in normal time.
Overall, the match provided plenty of entertainment to hockey fans in Raipur with India scoring five goals in the second half after the first half ended 2-0 in favour of the Netherlands. Ramandeep Singh and Rupinder Pal Singh score a brace each while Akashdeep Singh also found his name on the scoresheet for India in regulation time.
The game can be primarily divided into two halves with the Netherlands playing some good hockey in the first half while the second half witnessed India as a dominant force as they were egged on by the home crowd to the core, but the Oranje came back strongly in the final minutes of the second half to take the game to a shoot out.
Initially, the Oranje had started the game brilliantly -- and looked set for a bronze medal -- as they took crucial lead via Mirco Pruijser in the 11th minute of the game and the Netherlands pressed more in the first quarter. Though India also received few chances at goal, they were not able to convert their opportunities. The Netherlands doubled their lead in the second quarter via Niek Van Der Schoot's reverse hit.
With India trailing 2-0, the home team came up with some quality display in the third quarter, which led to an attacking and entertaining quarter with both teams getting their fair share of chances at goal.
India began to put pressure on the Netherlands and earned a goal in the ninth minute of the third quarter. Ramandeep found the back of the net, which brought back India into the game. India, however, were fortunate as the Netherlands missed some easy chances in the third quarter.
India continued playing some aggressive hockey in the fourth quarter as they drew level after Rupinder converted the penalty corner with 12 minutes remaining for the game to end. Ramandeep scored another goal in no time as they took lead in the next few minutes, but the Oranje came back immediately with Van Der Weerden scoring the equaliser.
India scored two more goals via Rupinder and Akashdeep, which one thought had sealed the game for the home team, but the Dutch scored two more goals including a last minute penalty corner, which took the game to a shoot out, where India emerged triumphant.