Netherlands complete double away victory over FIH Hockey Pro League rivals China
Reigning champions the Netherlands women made it a splendid double with two wins from their opening two FIH Hockey Pro League matches on Sunday by claiming a 4-2 victory over hosts China at the Wujin Hockey Stadium in Changzhou. Following on from their 3-0 success against the home favourites on Saturday (11 January), today’s result means that the Dutch will leave China having claimed a maximum six points from their opening two games of the competition.
China made a lively start to the match but quickly found itself behind, with Laura Nunnink’s speculative backhand strike somehow squeezing between the legs of China goalkeeper Ye Jiao just five minutes in.
Marloes Keetels took the Dutch lead to 2-0 midway through the second quarter before China’s Peng Yang reduced the deficit on the stroke of half time, rifling home a wonderful backhand strike to give her team hope. However, close range finishes from Lidewij Welten and Frederique Matla put the result beyond all doubt before China’s Chen Ye netted a late consolation goal.
Speaking after the match, Netherlands star Frederique Matla, who was named Player of the Match, said: “I’m really happy because we haven’t had the longest preparation. We are really glad that we started this year with two wins. We still have to sharpen it up because we have to show that we are the best – we want to show that to the world.”
China captain Cui Quixia said: “In the first match we didn’t score, but this match we scored two goals, so I’m very happy that we got those two goals. Our defence has big problems, so we need to change a lot. We need to learn [from these matches against the Netherlands].”
The FIH Hockey Pro League continues next weekend when the men’s competition gets underway, with debutants India facing matches against the Netherlands at Bhubaneswar’s magnificent Kalinga Stadium on Saturday 18 and Sunday 19 January.
This weekend’s opening fixtures in Changzhou were the first of 144 matches that will be contested between January and June 2020, with the world’s finest men’s and women’s international teams fighting for the chance to win the respective titles.
Wujin Hockey Stadium, Changzhou (CHN)
Result: Women’s Match 2
China 2, Netherlands 4 (Match 2 of 2)
Player of the Match: Frederique Matla (NED)