Punjab Gold Cup: India set-up title clash with The Netherlands (Roundup)

February 8th, 2009 - 11:39 am ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Feb 7 (IANS) Rajpal Singh scored a brace as India beat New Zealand 3-2 in the last league match of the Punjab Gold Cup hockey tournament in the floodlit
Sector-42 stadium here Saturday.

Earlier, The Netherlands handed Olympic champions Germany a 7-1 drubbing in their last league match to top the table with 14 points and set-up a title clash with India.

This cleared India’s way to the final as Germany needed to win to stay in the race for Monday’s final.

Rajpal (6th, 55th minute) and Ignace Tirkey (67th) struck for India while Nicholas Wilson (40th minute) and Richard Petherick (62nd) hit one goal each for New Zealand.

Having secured a final berth after the first match of the day, India struck early through striker Rajpal.

Midfielder Prabodh Tirkey hit the ball towards the opponent’s net but goalkeeper Kyle Potifex made a good save. However, he could not control the ball as Rajpal, who was standing near the goalpost, pushed the ball inside.

India dominated the first half with an attacking game and led 1-0 at half time.

New Zealand striker Nicholas Wilson equalised in the 40th minute. Rajpal consolidated the Indian position, hitting a long pass from Prabhjot Singh from the right flank into the goal.

The Kiwis stepped up the pressure, converting a penalty corner to level 2-2.

India again got the lead when midfielder Ignace Tirkey’s powerful strike from the left flank screamed into the goal.

New Zealand wasted as many as seven penalty corners. India got only one.

With the win, India took their tally to 11 points.

In the first match of the day, Germany’s hopes of staying in contention for a final berth were ruthlessly crushed by the in-form Dutch.

Germany have fielded an experimental side in the tournament with only four players from the Beijing Olympics squad. They had not been in the best of form but showed signs of revival, having beaten India Friday.

The Netherlands, who have been the best team in the tournament so far, gave a

power-packed performance to outclass Germany.

Wouter Jolie (2nd minute, 60th) and Jeron Hertzberger (7th, 50th) struck twice for the Dutch team while Constantijn Jonker (47th minute), Robbert Kemperman (55th minute) and Lucas Judge (61st minute) scored one goal each.

For Germany, the consolation goal came through Christopher Wesley (66th minute).

Jolie converted a penalty corner to put The Netherlands ahead. After five minutes, Hertzberger struck to make it 2-0.

The Dutch displayed attacking hockey and never let the Germans settle. Germany got four penalty corners in the first half but wasted all. The Dutch team led 2-0 at

half time.

The change of side did not bring any luck for Germany as The Netherlands struck one goal after another.

German striker Christopher Wesley, pulled one back in the 66th minute.

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