India lose to Netherlands in men’s Hockey

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India’s progression to the men’s hockey quarter-finals at the 2016 Rio Olympics was put on hold for another day, following a 1-2 defeat to the world No 2, Netherlands, at the Olympic Hockey Centre in Deodoro Park. A goal-less first half – during which India’s defensive line was exceptional – was followed by goals conceded in the 32nd and 54th minutes, leading up to a frenetic last few seconds during which India missed five penalty corner chances to draw level with the Dutch.
India had been excellent in defence during the first half, with goalkeeper PR Sreejesh saving several attempted shots and the defenders keeping the pressure on the Dutch. The back line, in particular, was adept at reading the Dutch attack and repeatedly quelled shots at goal.
The second half, however, saw a familiar pattern play out. Netherlands went ahead 1-0 in the 32nd minute when Rogier Hofman tapped on a rebound, but six minutes later the scores were leveled courtesy a feisty VR Raghunath penalty corner strike. Two brilliant saves from Sreejesh were followed by a converted penalty corner in the 54th minute by Mink van der Weerden.
With 2:30 left on the clock, Ramandeep Singh fired in a penalty corner but the ball was lost in the huddle in front of the Dutch goal. The Netherlands’ defence held their nerve to repel whatever India had left in the tank, which led to a harrowing final few moments of the match. Five PCs made for riveting viewing, but the result left India to fight another day.

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