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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

It was certainly a tough fight between two power houses of world hockey in which the victory was eventually sealed by the well deserved Netherlands side in the 5th-6th play-off match of the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s Junior World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday.

After lagging 3-0 behind, the Red Lions came roaring back into the match. However, the score line read 6-4 in Netherlands’ favour in the end. While the Oranjes secured the fifth place in the mega tournament, Belgium had to be satisfied with the sixth place finish.

 Netherlands rode on a hat-trick by Miles Bukkens (8th, 20th and 27th minutes) to register the convincing win. Brent Van Bijnen (15th minute) and Guus Jansen (39th) were the other goal scorers for the winning team.

For Belgium, Roman Duvekot (36th and 38th minutes) scored a brace while Thibault Deplus (25th) and Jeff De Winter (52nd) found the target once each.

Netherlands started aggressively and scored as early as the eighth minute of the match through Miles. Brent went on to double the lead seven minutes later. Miles increased the lead to 3-0 in the 20th minute to put immense pressure on the opposition. The Red Lions pierced the net in the 25th minute through Deplus to reduce the lead. However, Miles completed his hat-trick two minutes after to put the pressure back on the opposition.

Belgium showed signs of coming back into the match when they scored back to back goals in the 36thth and 38th minutes respectively by Duvekot. Netherlands immediately retaliated through Jansen in the 39th minute. They went on to increase their lead to 6-3 in the 50th minute through Jansen.

Thereafter, Belgium tried their best to play the catch up game, but it was not good enough to pose any challenge to the opposition.

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