India eked out a thrilling 1-1 draw against hosts Netherlands to enter the final of the Champions Trophy in Breda on Saturday to qualify for the much awaited Gold medal match against Australia.
Eight-time Olympic champions just needed a draw to grab a second consecutive final spot at the prestigious hockey tournament and India made sure they stopped the World number 4, Netherlands from taking full points.
India finished in second place with eight points behind group toppers Australia, who had 10. Netherlands and Argentina will play for the bronze medal while Belgium and Pakistan will play the 5-6 position classification playoff.
After three cagey quarters, Blue Tigers finally drew the first blood after Mandeep Singh found the back of the net as he latched on to a rebound off a penalty corner to give India a crucial lead.
Twice Olympic Champions, Netherlands started to make immense pressure on Indian defence and five minutes before the end, Thierry Brinkman equalised from a very narrow angle to give this match a whole new life.
Netherlands almost pulled off a winning goal with a minute left to play but they were unlucky to have taken the free-hit from a different spot and with the ball moving, they were denied the goal by the TV umpire.
With this one point, India securly booked their place in Champion Trophy’s final where they will take on mighty Australians for Gold medal, while Netherlands will be up against Olympic Champions Argentina for the bronze medal play-off.
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