Flickers misfire as India lose 1-2 to Netherlands

OLY-2016-RIO-HOCKEY-NED-IND The Netherlands team celebrates scoring a goal during the men's field hockey against India at the Olympic Hockey Centre in Rio de Janeiro | AFP

India wasted as many as five penalty corners seconds from the final hooter to go down 1-2 against reigning silver medallist Netherlands and slump to their second defeat in the men's hockey competition of Rio Olympics.

Netherlands scored both their goals from penalty corners through Rogier Hoffman (32nd minute) and Mink van der Weerden (54th), while India's lone goal came from the stick of V.R. Raghunath (38th).

But the match witnessed intense drama in the final seconds as India did not bow out without a fight against the world number 2 side. Trailing 1-2 with four minutes left, India withdrew goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh for an additional forward and pressed hard for the equaliser.

Their efforts bore fruit as India earned their fourth penalty corner six seconds from the hooter after appealing for a video referral. That penalty corner resulted in four more back-to-back short corners but the Indian drag-flick battery of Rupinder Pal Singh, who took four tries, and Raghunath failed to break the Dutch defence led by goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann.

The Men in Blue, thus, suffered another heart-breaking defeat after the late loss to reigning Olympic champions Germany in their second Pool B game.

A draw against Netherlands would have sealed India's place in the quarterfinals. But they now will have to wait for the result of their last pool encounter against Canada.

India are now placed third in Pool B with six points behind leaders Netherlands (10) and Germany (9). Argentina are placed fourth with four points.

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