FIH Pro League: India lose 2-3 to Belgium in second leg
Antwerp: Alexander Hendrix helped Belgium register a thrilling 3-2 win over India in the second match of the two-leg FIH Pro Hockey League tournament here on Sunday. Hendrix (49th, 59th) scored two goals in the fourth quarter and Nicolas de Kerpel scored in the 33rd minute as the Olympic champions came back from a 0-1 deficit to beat India. Visitors 4-5 in a shootout. For India, Abhishek (25th) put India ahead, while Mandeep Singh (60) scored another goal just moments before the hooter. With this win, the world champions moved up to the second position on the points table, while India were at the third position.
India will now take on the Netherlands next week.
Belgium controlled the game early with better ball possession and also earned the first penalty corner when Sreejesh saved one with his leg but in the process pushed the ball into the Indian defender’s leg. However, Belgium missed the opportunity.
India had a chance in the 5th minute when Jarmanpreet sent a cross from the right but Sukhjeet sent it over the bar.
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India enjoyed better possession during the final leg of the first quarter and Jugraj created an opportunity with a length ball through the center but the visitors came to an end as Belgium’s defense worked.
Jarmanpreet got a penalty corner in the second quarter in five minutes but Harmanpreet’s shot was saved brilliantly by goalkeeper V Vanash.
In the 25th minute, India produced a breakthrough with a brilliant field goal, in which Abhishek guided the ball into the net after being set off by Gurjant Singh, who combined brilliantly with Vivek Sagar Prasad inside the circle.
Belgium made a strong comeback in search of an equalizer but PR Sreejesh made a brilliant save to lead India 1-0 in the second quarter.
In the 33rd minute, Nicolas de Kerpel brought the hosts back into the game with a tight end after being fed by Arthur de Slover. A hard fight for supremacy ensued but India’s defense remained steadfast, especially as Sreejesh made some spectacular saves to negate Belgium.
In the third quarter, India was reduced to 10 members after Akashdeep got the green card.
Things changed in the fourth quarter when Surendra Kumar won a PC in the 48th minute and Alexander Hendricks put Belgium in the lead quickly with a quick shot touching Sreejesh’s leg.
Four minutes to the end of the fourth quarter, India earned a penalty corner but goalkeeper Vanash Vincent put up his right hand to deny the visitors.
Minutes from the hour mark, Belgium earned another penalty stroke, which was very disappointing for the Indian camp and Hendricks converted it, bringing the ball over Sreejesh over the net to make it 3–1 in his favor. took. However, a fighting India almost pulled off a robbery when Mandeep Singh fell asleep near the Belgian goalkeeper to narrow the margin. With only seconds left on the clock, Vivek produced a sensational hit on the goalpost but it went off target as another thrilling contest came to an end.