Champions Trophy Hockey: India draw vs Netherlands but reach final

first_imgIndia advanced to the final of the Champions Trophy hockey tournament in Breda following a 1-1 draw against hosts Netherlands on Saturday.India will take on Australia in the summit clash on Sunday after finishing with 8 points from five matches at the tournament.Mandeep Singh scored for India in the fourth quarter but his goal was cancelled minutes later. Both sides continued to attack but failed to change the scoreline.But the result was enough for India to earn a place in the final of the Champions Trophy for the second time in a row.India finished on second place in the standings with 8 points from two wins, one loss and two draws. Defending and world champions Australia finished top of the table with 10 points.As per the rules of the six-nation tournament, the top two teams from the round robin stage will play in the final.For Netherlands, it was a must-win match as only a victory could have ensured their place in the final. The hosts will play Argentina in the third-place playoff on Sunday.In the other inconsequential match of the day, Australia were beaten 3-2 by Olympic champions Argentina.Under new chief coach Harendra Singh, India could not have asked for a better start to their campaign here. The Indians mauled arch-rivals Pakistan 4-0 before stunning Argentina 2-1.But thereafter, India lost to Australia 3-2 after a valiant fight before conceding a late goal to draw 1-1 against Belgium earlier this week.But the results of the opening two games held India in good stead as they needed just a draw against Netherlands to secure their final berth.advertisementEven though Ramandeep Singh’s injury hurt India badly, but the strikers have been in good form in the tournament. The likes of Mandeep Singh, Dilpreet Singh and Lalit Upadhayay have lived up to expectations but SV Sunil looked a pale shadow of himself.The defenders too did a decent job but in the last two games against Australia and Belgium, they crumbled when put under immense pressure.Experienced PR Sreejesh has been phenomenal under the goal for India and it solely because of his heroics, India managed to garner a point against Belgium on Thursday.But the major cause of concern for India has been their penalty corner conversion rate. Despite earning a handful of penalty corners in the last four games, India converted just three through Harmanpreet Singh.And Harendra would need to address these issues if India want to win their maiden Champions Trophy title in the last edition of the tournament.Harendra and his team would definitely go for the kill against the the mighty Australians on Sunday.(With inputs from PTI)last_img

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