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Indian eves go down to Netherlands Antilles again, finish fourth
April 27, 2008 19:01 IST
India's profligate women's hockey team let in a late goal and conceded another in extra time to go down 1-2 to Netherlands Antilles and squander the bronze medal in the third place playoff of the Olympic qualifiers in Kazan (Russia [Images]) on Sunday.
India led 1-0 at half time through a Rajwinder Kaur penalty corner conversion and looked like they would end the tournament with at least a medal to boast of only to allow a late charge by the Antilleans and settle for a fourth place.
After testing the Indian goalkeeper Dipika Murty on a couple of occasions, the Antilleans restored parity through an Ernestina Schreuder 66th minute penalty corner conversion to push the match to extra time.
Marlies van der Stel then silenced the the sizeable Indian supporters at the stands with a golden goal in the 72nd minute, which came from a penalty corner.
Mamta Kharab's team won half a dozen penalty corners but could convert only one while their lower ranked opponents utilised the only penalty corner they got to bounce back into the match before scoring from another penalty corner to seal the match.
India, who had come here with hopes of making it to the Beijing [Images] Olympics [Images], missed several scoring chances in the first 45 minutes and the main culprits were Saba Anjum and Surinder Kaur.
Coach MK Kaushik on Sunday rested experienced defender and vice-captain Suman Bala along with Gagandeep Singh, who was in the injured list from the second day of the tournament.
The move seemed to have paid off as defender Rajwinder not only scored from India's third penalty corner midway through the first half but also hardly put a stick wrong when the rivals were on ascend. Her penalty corner hit went like a bullet to the right corner of the cage.
The Indians, for once, realised the futility of direct hits in the penalty corner drills, and went for variations.
The fifth penalty corner one in which Asunta Lakra received a dummy ball from Jasjeet was worth a goal, but Sanne Pouwels came with an amazing goal-line clearance to deny it.
In the second half, a couple of Antilles' counter attacks were thwarted by the reflex of goalkeeper Dipika Murty.
Playing her hundredth match, Dipika showed flashes of brilliance under the cage. On a couple of one to one situations, she came out with flying colours in the first half which helped the Indians to hang on to the single goal lead when sides changed.
Dipika also easily palmed away a dangerous top-of-the-circle flick by Antilles captain Erstina Schredeur in the 38th minutes.
But a wrong body tackle by defender Binita Toppo near the 25-yard line four minutes from regulation time gave life to the struggling rivals. From the resultant penalty corner, Ernestina Schreuder deflected the ball in from a close range.
Marlies va de Stel did the rest by scoring the golden goal in the second minute of the first half extra time to give her side the bronze medal.