Dublin: The India junior women’s hockey team staged a fine comeback to hold Netherlands to a 2-2 draw in their second contest of the Uniphar U-23 Nations Tournament here, with Annu (19th minute) and Beauty Dungdung (37th minute) scoring a goal each to neutralise goals from Brouwer Amber (13th) and Van Der Broek Belen (17th).
The Dutch side put India under pressure early on by earning three back-to-back penalty corners in the first five minutes. However, the Indian defense stood firm and prevented them from scoring. Netherlands upped the ante as the game progressed and were awarded for the same as they broke the deadlock in the 13th minute through Amber. Thereafter, they did well to hold on to their lead as the first quarter came to a close.
Netherlands started the second quarter in attack mode, and it paid off when Van Der Broek Belen scored in the 17th minute. After conceding two goals, India initiated a counter-attack and were rewarded with their first penalty corner in the 18th minute. India’s offensive strategy paid off as Annu pulled one back in the 19th minute. The Dutch then intensified their attack, earning them two PCs in a row. India gained their second PC in the final minutes of the second quarter to level the contest, but missed out on converting it, leaving them down 1-2 at the half.
Trailing by a goal, India looked to attack early on as the third quarter started. The Indian team was rewarded for their effort as their vice-captain Beauty Dungdung scored the equalizer in the 37th minute. Following that, both teams increased their pressure in chase of their third goal, which never came as the game was tied at 2-2 at the end of the third quarter.
The Netherlands players felt a sense of urgency as the fourth quarter began, having squandered a two-goal advantage. This was also evident in their game, as they earned yet another PC in the 47th minute but failed in converting it. India were handed a solid opportunity to take lead, through a PC, but it did not transpire into anything. In the final minutes of the game, the Netherlands won two consecutive PCs but failed in converting it as the game ended in a draw.
The India team will square off against Ukraine in their third match on June 22.