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Holland beat India again

V Subrahmanyam | February 08, 2004 19:31 IST

A lacklustre India went down 1-2 to European powerhouse The Netherlands in the third and final hockey Test of the Naval Tata Memorial series played at the Gachibowli stadium in Hyderabad on Sunday.

The Dutch, who drew the first Test and took the second at 2-1, won the series 2-0 and lifted the Naval Tata Trophy ahead of the pre-Olympic qualifying rounds to be played at Madrid, Spain next month.

Teun de Nooijer scored once in each half (4th and 44th), while Prabhjot Singh reduced the margin (63rd) in a game that saw the hosts lacking direction against their fancied opponents, who remained more focussed throughout.

Down by two goals, India raised hopes of a fightback when Prabhjot Singh foxed Dutch custodian Veering Klaas.

But that was all the Indians could do as the visitors tightened up the defence and played with resolute authority in the latter part of the game.

Nooijer drew the first blood, when he showed the holiday crowd a fine display of artistry with a spectacular field goal, studded with deceptive dribbles and dodging and a fine stick work blended with pace and skill, in the fourth minute of play.

The early setback infused more vigour in raids and aggression in the Indian camp but the Olympic champions held their cool and played with caution to end the first half with a 1-0 lead.

The hosts suffered a further setback in the second half when Nooijer struck in the 44th minute to swell the margin.

It was in the final moments that India got something to cheer about.

Kanwalpreet Singh's flick off Bimal Lakra's push from a penalty corner hit the goalkeeper, who failed to clear the ball, and Prabhjot made the most of the opportunity by tapping the ball in.

Both the teams got four penalty corners each. India could convert one while Holland failed to convert any, thanks to some superb savings by the Indian custodian Devesh Chauhan.

Chauhan, who missed most part of the second Test which India lost 1-2, today saved two certain goals and thwarted the visitors from scoring from the penalty corners.

Star striker Gagan Ajit Singh, who was heavily marked, and Prabhjot Singh created a few chances which went abegging due to some poor finishing.

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