The Pinoké supporters and players celebrated in a grand manner on Saturday afternoon reaching the final for the national championship in the Men’s Tulip Hoofdklasse. The unbridled enthusiasm of the debutant in the play-offs after the 3-0 win in the second semi-final against neighbor Amsterdam could not hide the fact that the final spot was overshadowed by the racism affair .
Pinoké will play in the final next week against either HGC or Bloemendaal, who will play the third and decisive game at ‘t Kopje on Sunday after the surprising 1-3 victory of the formation from The Hague . Pinoké is eagerly awaiting that best-of-three.
At Amsterdam, too much disappointment prevailed on Saturday. Not only because of the elimination, but especially because of the racism incident. Immediately afterwards it became clear how deep this affair is in Amsterdam. One of the Pinoké players was emphatically avoided by some players during the handshake afterwards. According to Amsterdam, he had ‘racisted’ one of their players last Sunday. He was also initially suspended for this last week, but in the appeal procedure the independent disciplinary committee of the KNHB acquitted the player due to lack of evidence.
They found it unacceptable at Amsterdam, where an appeal for the suspension of captain Mirco Pruyser was rejected and he was therefore not there. The guests made an online statement in advance in which they condemned racism and during the warm-up the players of Amsterdam wore a shirt with the word racism crossed out in red.
There were no further incidents during the game, but the affair hung over the game like a blot. Although the fans of the home crowd didn’t notice that. They were in high spirits from the very first minute. Thousands of them had come to the packed sports park in the Amsterdamse Bos. The Sting noses celebrated from the first whistle as if the final had already been reached.
For that, the play-off debutant had to win, after winning the shoot-outs (after a 2-2 final score) in the first semi-final against Amsterdam last Sunday . It soon became clear that the necessary second victory would come on Saturday. Pinoké was fierce and eager and played excellent hockey. Amsterdam didn’t seem quite right.
You should not do that against Pinoké, who has been yearning for success in the play-offs for years. The club not only wants to compete in the top, but also to win prizes. Coach Jesse Mahieu does this with a team that consists of a core of players who have been playing at the club for years, a small handful of international top players and a few talents.
The biggest is perhaps Miles Bukkens, the attacking ball virtuoso, who also appears to be able to take penalty corners. Pinoké has recruited the Belgian Olympic and world champion Alexander Hendrickx for this masterpiece. Hendrickx was not in the field at the first corner, so Pinoké played the variant on Bukkens, who pushed the ball onto the shelf: 1-0 for the home club.
The fans on the side went crazy. The horns blared, a smoke pot was lit and the beer pump was cranked again. This was going to be a legendary afternoon for the Stick Noses.
After half an hour of play, it couldn’t go wrong anymore when the Belgian Sebastien Dockier scored the 2-0 on a pass from the great playing Niklas Wellen. Amid loud cheers and applause, the Pinoké players went to the changing rooms at halftime.
All the good intentions with which the excited Amsterdam started the third quarter came to an end two minutes after the restart. With a hard free hit from outside the 23-meter line, the defense of Amsterdam was not paying attention, so that Dockier was able to score again: 3-0.
End of title aspirations
The goal marked the end of the title aspirations of Amsterdam, which nevertheless used all people and resources to perform a miracle. Because Pinoké didn’t shy away from the fight either, things got tough in the last two quarters. It resulted in yellow cards for Hendrickx and Fergus Kavanagh and Floris Middendorp (both Amsterdam), but no more hits.
Pinoké will therefore play the final for the national championship for the first time in the club’s history. A historic achievement that will go down in the books with a taint from the racism affair.
Pinoké – Amsterdam 3-0
15. Miles Bukkens 1-0 (sc)
29. Sebastien Dockier 2-0
37. Sebastien Dockier 3-0