India conceded a goal in the dying minutes and lost to European champions The Netherlands 1-2 in the final of the Punjab Gold Cup hockey tournament in Chandigarh on Monday evening.
The tournament's top-scorer Jeroen Hertzberger converted a penalty-corner in the 66th minute to break Indian hearts at the packed Sector 42 hockey stadium.
After a barren first-half, it was India who took the lead in the 43rd minute when Korean umpire Kim Hong Lee awarded them a penalty-stroke after forward Shivender Singh was unfairly tackled inside the striking circle by Dutch forward Wouter Jolie.
Skipper Sandeep Singh, who had failed to score from the spot against the Dutch in the group league stage, made no mistake this time, his low flick beating Dutch goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann.
The visitors restored parity within three minutes when Robbert Kemperman's deflection beat India goalkeeper Baljit Singh.
India tried hard to find the winner and also forced five penalty-corners but without success as Hertzberger's sixth goal of the tournament left them high and dry.
India earned their first penalty corner in the fifth minute but Sandeep's powerful hit was saved by Stockmann.
The Dutch, held 4-4 and 2-2 by India in the group league stage, earned their first penalty-corner in the 20th minute, but goalkeeper Baljit rose to the occasion, blocking the powerful flick.
The Indian defence had a tough time late in the first half from the Dutch strike pair of Hertzberger and Lucas Judge, but Baljit's strong keeping kept them at bay.
India got yet another chance to forge ahead at the stroke of half-time when Shivender led an attack from the right flank. However, Rajpal failed to trap the ball inside the striking circle and the chance went begging.
Earlier, New Zealand beat Germany 3-2 to take third place.