India faced the mighty Netherlands unit in their fourth hockey Group B match at the Rio 2016 Olympics. It was a stern test for Indian unit as they were up against formiddable unit, yet to taste defeat in the competition.
The first quarter saw teams trade possession in the middle of the field, and India did well to keep the Dutch unit quiet in the first fifteen minutes. There were no moves made, penalty corners earned as the teams went into the first breather with the scores locked at 0-0.
Second quarter was on a similar note as both teams were happy to maintain the clean sheet. Netherlands did press forward with some penetrations into the scoring circle but India were happy to keep it tight. The first break saw no goals, with scores remaining at 0-0.
Early in the third quarter, India conceded their first penalty corner and Netherlands made sure to make most of it. The Dutchs made most of the rebound and found the back of the net to take 1-0 lead early in the quarter. Less than 10 minutes after Netherlands took lead, India earned their first PC and Raghunath fired one in to level the scoring at 1-1.
Sreejesh continued to stand like a wall in front of the goal post as he made save after save to deny Netherlands the lead. India received a blow when SV Sunil and VR Raghunath were served yellow cards and the two were on the sidelines serving five-minutes suspensions. India managed to survive with nine men and at the end of the third quarter, the scoreline read 1-1.
Netherlands pressed forward in the fourth quarter, in search of the winning goal. They won managed to get one in their favour but a sensational save by Sreejesh denied them the lead early in the final quarter. With that save, Sreejesh took his save count to 14 out of 20 shots coming his way in the tournament so far.
Another one came his way but this time he was beaten as the diving goalie couldn’t deflect the drag-flick away. Netherlands went 2-1 up and pressure now was on India to find the equaliser, the goal which would have helped them seal a quarters berth. India charged and got plenty of penalty corners, with six seconds to go. The PR Sreejesh-led unit failed to convert and lost the contest 1-2, their second defeat.