India squandered a one-goal lead to lose 1-4 to the Netherlands in their FIH Hockey Pro League match on Wednesday.
Skipper Harmanpreet Singh (11') scored India's lone goal despite the visiting side being awarded as many as five penalty corners and a penalty stroke. Pepijn Reyenga (17'), Boris Burkhardt (40') and Duco Telgenkamp (41', 58') scored in the home team's thumping victory.
Riding on back-to-back wins in London last weekend, India got off the blocks in Eindhoven by establishing an early 1-0 lead in the first quarter.
Harmanpreet's men were awarded a penalty corner after a foot foul by a Dutch defender and the deliberate foul in PC defence saw them receive a penalty stroke.
The in-form Harmanpreet beat the 'keeper to hand India the early lead and took his season's tally to 17 goals.
Backed by a boisterous home crowd, the young Netherlands team bounced back in the second quarter with a fine equaliser from Reyenga. He was skillful in his effort to pick up an aerial ball and controlled it well before putting it past the Indian defence in the 17th minute.
The equaliser put India on the back foot, with the hosts enjoying most of the ball possession. It took India a few minutes to regain their rhythm and foray into the circle with a well-worked attack down the right flank but the hosts defended well to keep the scoreline even.
The hosts had an opportunity to take the lead from a PC just before the hooter, but Amit Rohidas made a good block to ensure parity.
The Netherlands continued to dominate the third quarter with improved ball possession backed by an aggressive attack. Tjep Hoedemakers tested India's defence early on when he took a shot on goal from close range, but India custodian Krishan Pathak was up to the task.
In the 35th minute, India created a good attack from the right flank with the ball being pushed across the face of the goal. A poke would have put the ball in, but Gurjant Singh's diving effort went in vain.
The deadlock finally ended in the 40th minute when the Netherlands won a PC. Burkhardt picked up a good injection and drilled it past Pathak. Seconds later, Telgenkamp doubled the lead to 3-1 with a well-timed field goal.
It didn't help that India were down to 10 men after Mandeep Singh was shown a green card seconds before the Netherlands scored back-to-back goals.
Under pressure to score, India began the final quarter with a couple of PCs coming their way but failed to make much of them. They won another one but found no way past the Dutch defence.
While a late surge for India looked bleak, Telgenkamp struck again to put the tie to bed.
Though India earned a PC seconds after this goal, Rohidas' flick didn't make the target. With less than 30 seconds left for the final hooter, India earned a penalty stroke after a stick tackle foul but the Dutch goalkeeper Pirmin Blaak made a brilliant save off Harmanpreet's flick, sealing an emphatic win for his side.
India will next face Argentina on Thursday.