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India stumble in opening tie

New Delhi: Hosts India put up a gallant fight before going down 2-3 against the formidable Netherlands in their opening match of the Hero FIH Junior hockey World Cup, here on Friday.

The Indians conceded three field goals in the opening half as the Netherlands scored twice through Milan van Baal (3rd minute, 28th) and once through Mark Rijkers (25th) to make life difficult for the hosts. For India, Gurjinder Singh (13th) converted a penalty corner while Akashdeep Singh (42nd) scored from a field effort.

The Indians started on a bright note but as the match progressed they fizzled out, allowing the Dutch to take control of the proceedings.

The Netherlands stunned the handful of cheering home supporters present at the floodlit Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on a chilly evening, by striking the first goal in the third minute. The Dutch scored from their very first attack when Milan van Baal sounded the board from close range, after receiving a pass from Tom Hiebendaal.

The Indians had an opportunity to equalise in the next minute on their first penalty corner but Sukhmanjit Singh faltered. They, however, equalised soon from their second penalty corner, which was converted by Gurjinder Singh to level the scores. (Agencies)