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India go down to Holland
June 27, 2004 23:25 IST
India paid the penalty for missing umpteen chances and lost 0-2 to Olympic champions Holland in a league match of the four-nation Robobank hockey tournament in Amsterdam on Sunday.
It was the Indians' first international match following a three-week training camp in the United States.
The Dutch scored on either side of the break through Teun de Nooijer (30th minute) and Ronald Brouwer (39th).
The Indians came up with a patchy performance and besides missing some easy chances failed to score from the seven penalty-corners they forced.
The Dutch dominated for most part of the match which was played in overcast conditions. The Indians hardly conceded anything to their opponents in the early play with some solid defence and purposeful attacks.
The Indian defence held firm for most of the first half before cracking just before half-time. The Dutch went ahead when a beautiful cross from the half-line by Taeke Taekama was neatly deflected into goal by de Nooijer, who was left unmarked inside the circle.
The next four minutes saw the home side come close to extending their lead after taking advantage of a listless display by the Indian defenders.
India were themselves to blame for not taking a lead early on as they failed to convert any of the three penalty-corners they earned through the brilliance of mercurial forward Dhanraj Pillay in the first 11 minutes of the match. Sandeep Singh lacked direction with his first two flicks while captain Dilip Tirkey hit above the board from the third one.
Pillay played for 25 minutes in the first half before being substituted by another veteran, Baljit Singh Dhillon, who hardly got a chance to test the Dutch goalkeeper in the first half.
India, playing without mid-fielder Viren Rasquinha, who was down with fever, suffered a severe blow four minutes into the second half when Brouwer sounded the board to give his side 2-0 lead.
Though the visitors upped the tempo in the hope of reducing the margin, they failed in their endeavour.
Gagan Ajit Singh's favourite reverse flicks failed to do the trick too as couple of powerful shots being saved superbly by the Dutch keeper.
Sandeep Singh, a huge success in the junior Asia Cup in Karachi with 16 goals, could not carry his form to this match, failing to score even once with his deadly drag-flicks from four of the seven penalty-corners that India got.
After a rest day tomorrow, India will take on arch-rivals Pakistan while Germany, the fourth team in the fray, play Holland on Tuesday.
GERMANY WHIP PAKISTAN
In the opening match of the tournament on Saturday, Germany thrashed Pakistan 6-0.
It was Germany's fourth win over Pakistan in two weeks, having beaten the Asian giants 3-1 and 2-1 in Test matches in Berlin and 3-2 in Hamburg last Sunday.
Sohail Abbas failed to convert any of the four penalty-corners Pakistan forced and even failed with a penalty stroke while Germany took full advantage of defensive lapses to convert a high percentage of its scoring chances.
Pakistan had three field goal scoring chances in the first half and Abbas had a chance to even the match at 1-1 with the penalty stroke in the 13 minute, two minutes after Mathias Witthaus scored Germany's first goal.
Germany substituted Clemens Arnold in goal with Christian Schulte, a specialist in defending penalty strokes, to defend the penalty stroke. Abbas went high to the right and Schulte deflected the stroke wide with his stick.
Bjorn Michel scored a field goal and converted a penalty-corner to have Germany ahead 3-0 at the break from only four shots on goal in the first half.
Florian Kunz for Germany and Sohail Abbas for Pakistan each failed with penalty-corner attempts early in the second half but it was Kunz who found form with two penalty-corner conversions in the 52nd and 57th minutes to have Pakistan reeling at 5-0.
With Pakistan's defence reeling, Christoph Bechmann completed the rout, scoring Germany's sixth goal three minutes from time.