~ Uttam Singh-led team come from behind to seal a berth against Germany in the Semi-Finals ~
Kuala Lumpur, 12th December 2023: The Indian Junior Men’s Hockey team produced a spectacular display of grit and character to beat the Netherlands 4-3 in a thrilling Quarter Finals of the FIH Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup Malaysia 2023 after trailing 0-2 at half-time and 3-2 in the third quarter.
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 set the ball rolling early in the first quarter with a penalty corner conversion from Timo Boers (5’). Despite the Indian side playing 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. The India colts 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 tempo 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.
India colts victory was backed by a grand show of character to hold off pressure from the Dutch side, and the cynosure of India’s 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.
India will play Germany in the first semi-final on Thursday, 14th December at 1530hrs IST.
The matches will be broadcast on Viacom Sports 18 – 3 and Sports 18 – 1 HD, as well as live-streamed on JioCinema.
By Hockey India