New Delhi, 8 June: India’s hope of regaining the top place suffered a setback as they put up a disjointed display and went down 1-4 to new look Netherlands team in the FIH Pro League match in Eindhoven (the Netherlands).
The defeat kept India second on the points table with 24 points from 13 matches, with three matches to be played.  Great Britain tops the table with 26 points and a game in hand.   The Netherlands, meanwhile, were playing just their fifth game of the competition and are eighth on the table with eight points from five matches.

Drag flicker and captain Harmanpreet Singh scored his team's only goal though a a penalty stroke in the 11th minute. Three debutants Pepijn Reyenga (17’), Boris Burkhardt (40’) and Duco Telgenkamp ( 41’, 58’) scored for the home side..

India, fifth in the world hockey rankings, earned seven penalty corners from the match but failed to convert any. On the other hand, world No. 1 Netherlands fielded a young and inexperienced side but made the most of their opportunities.  

The hosts dictated the tempo of the game in the first few minutes. India took some time to shake off the nerves and settle down .They made few precise moves that helped them earn opportunities inside the Netherlands' circle. The visitors were warded a Penalty corner the 11th minute, a deliberate foul in defence saw India being awarded a penalty stroke which Harmanpreet converted (1-0).
Two minutes into the second quarter, the hosts made a blistering counter move with Pepijn Reyenga, latching on to a  scoop and with a precise low strike, made it 1-1 for the hosts.

As the second half opened India made frequent runs in the rival's defence but the poor finishing by the forwards let them down and they failed to capitalise on the openings.
In the 35th minute, the visitors created a good attack from the right flank with the ball being pushed across the face of the goal. Only a slight touch would have put the ball in   but Gurjant Singh's diving effort went in vain

The hosts took the lead in the 40th minute through a penalty corner. Boris Burkhardt with a powerful drag-flick into the top corner beat goalkeeper Krishnan Bahadur Pathak (2-1).

With defender Mandeep Mor penalised with a green card, India was down to 10 men for the next two minutes. The Netherlands capitalised on the opportunity and launched a counter-attacking move to make it 3-1 through Duco Telgenkamp.  

India launched counterattacks in the final quarter earning couple of PCs but could not make much of it. They won another PC about three minutes later but could not put it past the Dutch defence. The hosts worked a good counterattack that earned them a PC. But Miles Bukkens flick went wide. The final few minutes remained tense for India, as they hunted for that elusive goal.  

Duco Telgenkamp scored his second goal with two minutes to go for the final hooter (4-1) and put the match beyond the visitors reach . The men in blue India did earn their second penalty stroke in the final minute but the experienced goalkeeper Blaak Pirmin prevented Harmanpreet from scoring his 18th goal of this season’s Pro League.

India will now play Argentina who are lying fifth w 13 points from 12 matches at the same venue.. 


must read