Netherlands beat India 2-1 to lift Punjab Gold Cup (Roundup)

February 9th, 2009 - 11:22 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Feb 9 (IANS) India conceded a late goal to go down fighting 1-2 to European champions the Netherlands in the final of the inaugural Punjab Gold Cup hockey tournament at the Sector-42 hockey stadium here Monday.

After a goalless first half, India struck through captain Sandeep Singh, who converted a penalty stroke in the 43rd minute. Germany fought back as Robert Kemperman levelled after three minutes. Jeron Hertzberger converted a penalty corner in the 66th minute to give the Nethetrlands a decisive edge and the crowd of 20,000 fell silent.

India are themselves to blame for the defeat as they wasted as many as five penalty corners.

In the first half, both sides played attacking hockey though none was able to score a goal. The Netherlands dominated the half but India’s goalkeeper Baljeet Singh thwarted many attempts.

India came close to scoring at the stroke of half-time but Shivender Singh failed to connect a Rajpal Singh centre.

The home team once again lost an opportunity five minutes into the second half as Prabhjot Singh could not deflect a corner hit.

India were awarded a penalty stroke when Shivender was brought down by the Netherlands defenders near the goalmouth as he was about to strike. Sandeep, who missed a penalty stroke in a league match, took a clean strike to beat goal-keeper Jaap Stockmann and give India the lead, which sent the crowd in a frenzy.

But the Indian joy was shortlived as the Netherlands equalised in the 46th minute with a field goal off Robert Kemperman. There was confusion as the referee first disallowed the goal but later gave it to the Dutch side.

Goal-keeper Jaap Stockmann then did well to save two consecutive penalty corners from drag-flicker Sandeep in the 51st and 52nd minute.

The Dutch then took the lead by converting a penalty corner through Jeron Hertzberger in the 66th minute.

India had the last chance when they got a penalty corner in the 68th minute but Sandeep failed to convert.

Earlier, Olympic champions Germany finished fourth and last, losing 2-3 to New Zealand in the play-off match for the third spot.

The New Zealanders completely dominated the game to earn their first win in the four-nation tournament which turned out to be a disaster for Germany, who were fielding an experimental side.

Andren Hayward (26th minute), Lloyd Stephenson (50th minute) and Joel Baker (70th minute) struck for New Zealand while Moritz Furste (17th) and Oscar Deecke (51st) were on target for Germany.

The Netherlands striker Hertzberger, who scored six goals, was adjudged man of the tournament.

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