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India, Holland in thrilling draw

February 04, 2009 22:18 IST

India held European champions Holland 2-2 in a high-voltage encounter that marked the first match in the second leg of the four-nation Punjab Gold Cup hockey tournament in Chandigarh in Wednesday night.

India, who drew with the Dutch 4-4 in the first leg, fell back twice but came back strongly to hold their mighty rivals.

Both India and Holland have eight points from four matches, and with two more outings remaining, are almost assured of a title showdown.

Olympic champions Germany and New Zealand are on two points each after four matches.

The Dutch earned four penalty-corners and converted one while India could not come up with any.

The visitors took the lead three minutes before the breather. Jeroen Hertzberger caught the Indian defence napping and his reverse flick found the back of the net.

However, they could not hold on to the lead for long as India equalised within two minutes of resumption.

Shivender Singh collected a long ball from Dilip Tirkey and went past rival goalkeeper Stockmamm before sending the ball into the net.

Holland earned their first penalty-corner in the 16th minute of the second half but failed to convert it.

However, they earned another one in the very next minute and Geert Jan Derikx sent the rebound past goalkeeper Baljit Singh to give Holland a 2-1 lead.

The Indians regrouped and levelled in the 55th minute. Prabhjot Singh sounded the board after receiving a long pass from skipper Sandeep Singh.

Goalkeeper Baljit, who put up an impressive performance against Germany on Tuesday, was in the thick of action today as well as he effected crucial blocks including warding off four penalty-corners.

The Dutch earned their third and fourth penalty-corners towards the end of the match but an alert Baljit thwarted them.

Holland dominated the first 15 minutes of the first half and had most of the ball possession. Thereafter, India relied on counter attacks that put the opposition under pressure.

Indian forwards Prabhjot, Rajpal, Gurbaj and Shivender led the attacks, but failed to achieve much success.

Shivender missed a golden opportunity in the 30th minute when he failed to trap a pass from Tushar Khandekar near the striking area.

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