In what was a rematch of the Hockey World Cup Semifinal, the Netherlands made a stunning comeback to edge out Australia (4-1) after the match went into penalty shootout at the State Netball hockey Stadium, Melbourne. In the high voltage encounter both the teams were tied at 5-5 by the end of the regulation time.
Earlier, World no. 2 Australia opened their FIH Pro League campaign on a bright note when they opened their account with a Tom Craig goal in the 3rd minute when he pierced his way into the striking circle and put the ball on to the backboard. The Dutch were equal to the task and equalized the next minute with a Mirco Pruijser reverse flick. The Aussies picked up the pace and found the back of the net again with Tim Brand’s rebound finish at the 13th minute to end the quarter at 2-1.
The 2nd quarter saw the Aussies go on a rampage and make as many as 7 circle entries firing a couple of goals in the 17th as well as the 23rd minute via Eddie Ockenden and Trent Mitton strikes. The Dutch pressed hard in the dying minutes of the second quarter and won a penalty corner which hit the sidebar, but Jeroen Hertzberger was able to latch on to the momentum and found the backboard at the 29th minute to make it 2-4 at the end of the 2nd quarter.
Lachlan Sharp then stretched the Aussie lead after Tim Brand made a run near the striking circle at the 35th minute to give his team a 3-goal cushion at 5-2.
But it eventually boiled down to the last quarter and the mighty Dutch first converted a Penalty corner with the help of Jonas de Gues and then an inspiring strike from the Dutch captain Billy Bakker in the 51st minute to make it 4-5. The Dutch were prowling around the Australian circle and again found the back of the net at the 56th minute to shock the Kookaburras 5-5. Though the Australians did get a chance in the last minute but Eddie Ockenden as well as Tim Brand couldn’t avail them and thus the match went into the shootout.
In the shoot-out, the Dutch didn’t miss any of their first 4 shots whereas the Aussies could only manage one in their 3 shots to hand out the Dutch another shootout victory.
The Australians will now face World champions Belgium tomorrow in their next Pro League encounter
About the Author
Suposh Sharma, keenly follows Hockey, Athletics, and other Olympic sports. He also has a penchant for writing humour and is an avid traveller