Hockey: India lose 2-3 to Netherlands despite late fightback

Last Updated: Mon, Jul 30, 2012 18:53 hrs

Back in the Olympics after a hiatus of eight years, past masters of the game India produced a valiant fightback in the second-half before losing 2-3 to world number three The Netherlands in their opening Group B match of the men's hockey competition here today.

Playing tentatively and lacking any cohesion in their attacks, world ranked 10th India conceded two goals in the first session, but capitalised on two slim chances in the second half to draw 2-2 parity.

But India's joy was shortlived as The Netherlands restored their lead minutes later by converting a penalty corner.

The Indian players' nerves were on display in their opening match, where all but two of their players were making the maiden appearance in Olympic Games.

India mounted the first raid in the fifth minute to force their only penalty corner of the match, which V R Raghunath failed capitalise on in the absence of ace drag-flicker Sandeep Singh.

Raghunath had a good chance to put India ahead when his initial shot rebounded back to him off an onrushing defender's stick. He had plenty of space to seize control of the ball and have another shot at the target with the defenders a bit ruffled, but he tried a shot on the moving ball and wasted the opportunity.

The Netherlands then held sway for an extended period as the Indian players' nerves were on display.

The Indians seemed nervous in their tackling and passing, but the defenders managed to keep the Dutch strikers at bay until the 20th minute.

Robert van der Horst opened the scoring for The Netherlands as he created space and dribbled in to shoot from the top of circle that beat Indian goalkeeper Bharat Chetri all ends up.