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Rajinder Column
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Dilip Tirkey's absence made all the difference (8/18/2003)
--Rajinder Singh
18/8 It was very disappointing to lose the way we did against the Dutch. It hurts when your boys play so well for 60 minutes and then lose focus.

Dilip Tirkey¡¯s absence for most of the time made all the difference . Dilip is a world class player and the man who controls the defence, and when we needed him to close out the game after leading 3-0, he was on the sidelines cramping badly.

The young players looked lost and as a coach it is not a pleasant feeling. This is a very dangerous sign and the fans will lose faith in us if this problem keeps cropping up. It happened to us last year in the Cologne Champions trophy and it is happening now.

I am not giving excuses but two decisions went against us. First, when Jugraj Singh¡¯s crashed into the inside of the top bar. We thought it was a goal. Then, the Dutch equalizer. I don¡¯t know what the TV footage says but if the umpire was not to sure he should have disallowed the goal.

The umpiring in such top class competitions should be more consistent.

Having said that, I would like to say that the team played according to plan in the first half and the defending champions were looking lost. The heartening bit was that we denied them six times in penalty corners, and they have drag experts like Lomans and Taekema in the team.

Yes, the defenders and goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan played brilliantly. The forwards also played well. Skipper Dhanraj Pillay was a bit off colour but he is class act and will make an impact sooner than later. He set up Deepak Thakur with a beauty and even Gagan Ajit Singh scored a fabulous goal.

I was not happy with our penalty corner conversion. We are looking at a success rate of 50 per cent. So, one out five is not what I want from the boys.

I would like to insist that one defeat is not going to affect our morale. The boys are tough and they want to hit back.

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