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India end European tour with draw against Holland

Source: PTI
August 17, 2009 17:30 IST
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The Indian hockey team ended its European tour on a positive note, rallying to hold European champions The Netherlands to a 3-3 draw in the second and final Test at the Wagener Stadium in Amstelveen.

India, trailing 1-2 at half-time, made a gallant turnaround to deny the the world No 4 Dutch their second straight win ahead of the Euro-Nations Cup, starting in Amsteelveen next Saturday.

India's goal-scorers were Gurvinder Chandi (4th minute) and captain Sandeep Singh (59th and 68th), while Rogier Hofman (14th), Teun de Nooijer (16th) and Ronald Brouwer (39th minute) netted for Holland.

India began aggressively and earned their first-penalty corner when Rajpal Singh was obstructed by Robert van der Horst.

Gurvinder Chandi slotted home in the fourth minute from a rebound offered off Dutch goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann.

The Dutch swung back with crafty midfield manoeuvres from Laurence Docherty and Geert-Jan Derikx and attacks by Jeroen Hertzberger and Rob Reckers.

They were awarded a penalty-corner when Arjun Halappa carried the ball in the eighth minute, but, luckily for India, Adrian D'Souza warded off Taeke Taekema's effort by diving to his right.

However, the Dutch found the equaliser six minutes later, cashing in on errors by Prabodh Tirkey and Bimal Lakra. Rogier Hofman took hold of a Timme Hoyng set-up to beat D'Souza from the edge of the circle.

Two minutes later Holland broke into the lead with 33-year-old Teun de Nooijer scoring in his inimitable style.

India replied soon after with two attacks from Shivendra Singh and Tushar Khandker, the first of which won them a penalty-corner. However Halappa's push was well-saved by Stockmann.

After the half-time break, Holland increased their tally to 3-1 in the 39th minute when Ronald Brouwer, set-up by Roderick Weusthof, found the target.

India found their flair and rhythm thereafter, building regular sorties into the Dutch defence.

Gurbaj Singh and Sardar Singh stepped up the midfield pace and with swift interchange among forwards Birendra Lakra, Rajpal and Tushar Khandker, India got a penalty-corner in the 59th minute which, Sandeep Singh flicked home to reduce the margin.

India then won a penalty-corner in the 68th minute which Sandeep sent past Stockmann to give India a well-deserved 3-3 draw.

The team returns to India on Tuesday morning.

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