Punjab Gold Cup: India down New Zealand, Netherlands shock Germany (Lead)

February 1st, 2009 - 12:03 am ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Jan 31 (IANS) India started its Punjab Gold Cup hockey campaign with a 2-0 win over New Zealand while European winners the Netherlands shocked Olympic champions Germany by a similar margin on the opening day of the tournament here Saturday.Skipper Sandeep Singh and Shivendra Singh struck the winners as India did enough to run out New Zealand at the Sector 42 stadium. India earned three points.

India played attacking hockey and dominated the first half. They got their first penalty corner in the 10th minute, but failed to convert.

Rajpal and Arjun Hallapa showed good coordination in earning another penalty corner in the 18th minute. India took the lead with Sandeep scoring through the penalty corner push from Rajpal.

New Zealand began well in the second half and stepped up the gas. The Indians, however, thwarted the moves. In the 61st minute, India scored another goal with Sandeep scooping a ball to Shivender, who sounded the board.

India played with only 10 men for the last four minutes of the game as midfielder Vikram Pillay was shown the yellow card by the umpire in the 66th minute.

Indian origin Priyesh Bhana made his international debut for New Zealand in the match.

Later in the day, the resolute Dutch dominated the Germans and bagged three points with second-half goals from Lucas Judge and Jeroen Hertzberger.

The Netherlands dominated the game and hardly gave any chance to Germany. Judge broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute after being he found a precise pass from Roger Hofman.

The young German team came close to equalise in the 30th minute but the shot kissed the goalpost.

The Euro champions, meanwhile, continued their attacking game and Hertzberger converted a penalty corner to double the lead in the 62nd minute.

“I am satisfied with my boys’ performance in the match, but we could have won by a bigger margin if our players had maintained the momentum in the last moments of the game,” said Dutch coach Michel Heuvel.

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