Seventy minutes of action-packed game and eight goals to warm the cockles of the crowd. But in the end, India and Holland ended up sharing points in the four-nation Punjab Gold Cup being played at the Hockey Stadium here on Sunday.
The Dutch showed why they cannot be taken lightly even in the absence of key players, while India gave their rivals a lesson or two in the art of bouncing back. Although it is too early to say whether coach in-charge Harendra Singh has transformed this team from a losing outfit to a winning combination after Sunday's 4-4 draw, one thing was clear after the heart-warming performance --- under the former player's guidance, the team had learnt to pay back their opponents in the same coin.
Down two goals by the 28th minute, India bounced back with a bang, scoring three goals in as many minutes to take the fight to the 'enemy' camp. Holland scored the equaliser in the 45th minute, but once again it was India's turn to sound the boards. S.V. Sunil hammered in a goal in the 58th minute, giving India the lead. But Holland came up with the equaliser in the dying moments. Shivender Singh was adjudged Man-of-the-match.
Rob Reckers opened the account in the 16th minute with a beautiful field goal. The Dutch earned a penalty-corner in the 27th minute and the ensuing penalty-stroke --- awarded when a full-blooded shot hit a charging Virkam Pillay's foot --- taken by Laurence Docherty saw them go 2-0 up. But Shivender (29th), Prabhjot (31st) and Tushar (32nd) scored in double-quick time to give India a 3-2 lead going into halftime. Dutch skipper Timme Hoyng contributed his part by coming up with an equaliser in the 45th minute.
Sunil then deflected a Sandeep Singh hit from top of the arc to give the home crowd reasons to cheer in the 58th minute. But India's joy was short-lived as Jan Derikx scored the equaliser three minutes from time.