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India go down fighting to Holland
Our Correspondent | March 11, 2004 23:00 IST
Last Updated: March 12, 2004 01:08 IST
India came up with their best showing in the semi-finals of the men's Olympic hockey qualifier, but it was not good enough to overcome defending Olympic champions The Netherlands in Madrid on Thursday.
Holland will meet Spain, who beat Pakistan 3-2 in the second semi-final.
Pakistan and India will clash for the bronze medal.
In a fast-paced match, the Dutch came out trumps because of better all-round discipline. They did well to hold possession for short periods and effect the killer punch when opportunity arose. Brouwer's goals in the 47th and 66th minutes from half chances took the game away from India.
The Netherlands drew first blood in the 13th minute when their penalty-corner ace Taekama scored from their first penalty-corner with a high flick to the right corner of the goal.
India had a couple chances to draw abreast but Deepak Thakur was unable to make good through balls that came his way.
But they did succeed in the 30th minute following a passing bout between Baljit Saini and Gagan Ajit Singh, the last named sounding the board with a crisp shot.
A minute from half-time, the Dutch forced two successive penalty-corners and Taekema scored off the second one, flicking to the left of the cage.
Seven minutes into the second session, India made it 2-2 from an indirect penalty-corner variation. The Dutch were foxed as Dilip Tirkey sold a dummy while going for the hit and Baljit Dhillon returned the ball to Deepak Thakur, who had made the push, to sweep home.
The goal raised expectations of a grand fightback by the Indians, but lapses in defence proved their undoing. The Dutch scored against the run of play from counter attacks to seal victory.
In the 44th minute Brouwer did well to meet a free-hit from skipper Jeroen Delmee and deflect the ball past Chauhan.
Another counter attack just when the Indians were pressing, saw Brouwer trap a de Nooijer hit and slam home with Chauhan hopelessly beaten.
In the dying minutes, Gagan Ajit was in the clear to score but Vogels did well to deny him.
In the other semi-final, the Spaniards were clearly the better side. They should have won by a bigger margin but for some splendid keeping by Ahmed Alam in the Pakistan goal.
Eduard Tubau (PC-15th, FG-39th minute), and Santiago Freixa (FG-69th minute) scored for Spain while Shakeel Abbasi (FG - 30th minute) and Mudassar Ali Khan (FG - 68th minute) accounted for Pakistan's goals.