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Rediff.com  » Sports » India misfire from penalty-corners, lose to Netherlands

India misfire from penalty-corners, lose to Netherlands

Last updated on: August 11, 2016 23:54 IST

Eight-time Olympic gold medallists slump to second defeat in Pool B.

With 6 points, India are placed behind leaders the Netherlands (10) and Germany (9). Argentina are fourth with four points.

IMAGE: Rogier Hofman of the Netherlands, centre, celebrates with teammates after scoring the first goal against India in the men's hockey match at the Rio Olympics on Thursday. Photograph: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters.

India wasted as many as five penalty-corners seconds from the final hooter and went down 1-2 to reigning silver medallists the Netherlands in the Rio Olympics’ hockey tournament on Thursday.

The defeat saw the eight-time Olympic gold medallists slump to their second defeat in the competition. However, it hardly matters, as India, after the fourth round of matches in Pool B on Thursday, will finish in the top four and make the quarter-finals.

They are placed third in the pool with 6 points, behind leaders the Netherlands (10) and Germany (9).

Argentina are fourth with 5 points while Ireland have 3 and Canada, who India meet on Friday, have 0.

So, even if India lose to Canada and Ireland beat Argentina or vice-versa they will qualify.

The Netherlands scored both their goals from penalty-corners, through Rogier Hoffman (32nd minute) and Mink van der Weerden (54th), while India's lone goal came from the stick of V R Raghunath (38th).

India had a chance to snatch a point from the match as the match witnessed intense drama in the final seconds, but they failed to score from five successive penalty-corners.

Trailing 1-2 with four minutes left, India withdrew goalkeeper P R Sreejesh for an additional forward and pressed for the equaliser. Their efforts bore fruit as they earned their fourth penalty-corner six seconds from the hooter after appealing for a video referral.

That penalty-corner resulted in four more back-to-back short corners but the Indian drag-flick battery of Rupinder Pal Singh, who had four tries, and Raghunath failed to break the Dutch defence, led by goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann.

The Men in Blue, thus, suffered another heart-breaking defeat after the late loss to reigning Olympic champions Germany in their second Pool B game.

IMAGE: Raghunath Vokkaliga, left, scores for India in the match against the Netherlands. Photograph: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters.

It was a quiet first two quarters from India as well as the No. 2-ranked Dutchmen as both the teams preferred to play it safe, concentrating more on holding possession.

India, though, enjoyed the better share of possession in the opening 15 minutes but failed to create any scoring chances.

The Dutch preferred to sit back and get a hold of India's game and relied mostly on counter attacks, but, just like their opponents, failed to have a shot at the goal.

The exchanges gathered momentum in the second quarter as the Netherlands started applying pressure on the Indian defence.

The Dutch had the first real scoring opportunity when Hertzberger’s diagonal ball from the right 25-yard area created twin chances but India goalkeeper P R Sreejesh, rooted on his line, was up to the task.

SV Sunil and SK Uthappa, who was playing his 100th international match, then combined well from the right flank to break into the Netherlands circle but the Dutch defence thwarted the danger to their citadel.

IMAGE: Sander de Wijn of Netherlands (left) competes with Harmanpreet Singh of India. Photograph: Vasily Fedosenko/Reuters.

After a barren first two quarters, the Netherlands drew first blood in the 32nd minute when Hofman scored from a rebound after Sreejesh made a fine save to deny Van der Weerden from their first penalty-corner.

It took India just six minutes to draw level through Raghunath, who converted the second of two back-to-back penalty-corners.

The Indians dished out some valiant defending in the final stages of the third quarter when they were reduced to nine men.

With little more than three minutes left for the quarter to end, SV Sunil and Raghunath had to sit out for five minutes after being handed yellow cards from separate incidents.

But the Indian defence did well and defended in numbers to hold back the rampaging Dutch, who went all out sensing a great opportunity to take the lead.

Sreejesh again rescued India by saving Seeve van Ass's effort from the Netherlands' second short corner.

The Dutch then put immense pressure on the Indian defence and, in the process, secured three penalty-corners in quick succession.

While Sreejesh saved two efforts, Van der Weerden finally beat the Indian custodian with a low, powerful flick to the bottom right corner to hand Netherlands 2-1 lead.

The Indians fought hard till the end and created numerous scoring chances -- six penalty-corners, five of which came in the final seconds -- but failed to find the back of the Netherlands’ net.

How the teams stand

Group A

 

Teams

Played

W

D

L

F

A

GD

Pts

1

Belgium

3

3

0

0

17

1

16

9

2

Spain

3

3

0

0

11

2

9

9

3

New Zealand

4

2

1

1

14

7

7

7

4

Australia

4

2

0

2

4

4

0

6

5

Great Britain

4

1

1

2

13

9

0

4

6

Brazil

4

0

0

4

37

1

−36

0

Group B

 

Teams

Played

W

D

L

F

A

GD

Pts

1

Netherlands

4

4

0

0

17

4

5

12

2

Germany

3

3

0

0

11

5

6

9

3

India

4

2

0

2

7

6

1

6

4

Argentina

3

1

1

1

7

7

0

4

5

Ireland

4

1

0

3

8

13

-5

3

6

Canada

4

0

0

4

5

20

−15

0

 

AGENCIES