Bhubaneswar, Dec 13 (IANS)
The Netherlands eventually saw off Belgium in a penalty shoot-out to earn a fifth place playoff from the opening game of day five at the hockey Champions Trophy here Saturday.
Early on, there looked to be precious little drama as the Netherlands built a strong 2-0 lead and looked well set for victory only for the 'Red Lions' to come back with a final quarter volley to equalise with the very last touch of the game, 2-2. Jeroen Hertzberger got the Dutch up and running in the 11th minute with a powerful finish from the top of the circle.
Sander Baart then made it 2-0 just before half-time when Rob van der Horst located the forward behind the last Belgian defender.
From there, Belgium had the better chances, but Pirmin Blaak was in superb form, denying Sebastien Dockier and Tom Boon among others in the third quarter.
Boon got one back with 11 minutes to go with a brave, diving finish. Constantijn Jonker twice went close to restoring the two-goal margin, his deflections denied by the post and the crossbar, while Blaak made an excellent save from a Tanguy Cosyns drag-flick to retain the lead going into the final stages.
There was last minute drama, however, when Mink van der Weerden saw his penalty corner charged down - after Belgium had removed their goalkeeper - and Amaury Keusters draw another superb block from Blaak. But Belgium won a corner with one second remaining and John-John Dohmen touched home the equaliser.
Jaap Stockmann, brought into the fray for the shoot-out, made crucial saves on Cosyns and Florent van Aubel to give the Dutch a 4-2 shoot-out win.