Junior Hockey: India  lose to the Netherlands 3-2 in 8-Nations U-21 Invitational

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Harpal Singh Bedi

New Delhi: India (Junior) suffered their second successive defeat as the they lost to the Netherlands 2-3 at the 8-Nations U-21 Invitational Hockey tournament in Madrid on Tuesday. India had lost to Australia 0-4 in the previous matchIn a tentative first quarter , it was the Netherlands who snatched the initiative early, Jim van de Venne scoring in the 5th minute to give them the lead. Despite the early setback India did not drop their game plan and were constantly on the attack looking for an equaliser. In the second quarter both teams attacking with vigour and their defensive qualities being pushed to the brink. It was India who scored first, Vishnukant Singh getting the equaliser in the 23rd minute at the end of a brilliant move. Within three minutes though the Netherlands regained their lead, van de Venne, converting a penalty Corner for his second goal of the game. At half time the Netherlands led 2-1.In the third quarter both sides’ displayed intensity and high speed play producing some great hockey for the eyes. Derck de Vilder’s goal in the 32nd minute extended the Netherlands lead and gave them a two-goal cushion. India though did not let their shoulders drop and kept the pressure up. Their play yielded results soon. Koen Bijen picked up a green card in the 36th minute, leaving the Netherlands a player short on the field, and India capitalised on the advantage almost immediately. SSudeep Chirmako capped off a superb move to reduce the deficit to one goal in the 37th minute. The teams went into the break with the Netherlands leading 3-2.India went into the final quarter with the knowledge that an equaliser early in the period would be crucial. They attacked with gusto throughout the period but the Dutch defence was more than up to the task, and despite a Valentijn Charbon yellow card in the final minute, ensured they took home the victory. HSB

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