News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay  » Sports » FIH Pro League: Indian men lose to Belgium in shootout

FIH Pro League: Indian men lose to Belgium in shootout

Source: PTI
May 25, 2024 23:33 IST
Get Rediff News in your Inbox:

Action from men's hockey match played between Belgium and India in Antwerp on Sunday 

IMAGE: Action from men's hockey match played between Belgium and India in Antwerp, on Saturday. Photograph: Hockey India/X

The Indian men's hockey team produced a vastly improved performance than its previous match as it lost to reigning Olympic champions Belgium in the shootout after the two sides were locked 2-2 in the regulation time in the FIH Pro League in Antwerp, Belgium, on Saturday.

India, ranked sixth in the world, lost 1-3 in the shootout to take one point. World number three Belgium secured two points, including the bonus point for winning the shootout.


Araijeet Singh Hundal put India in the lead in the 11th minute with a fine field goal before Felix Denayer (30th minute) restored parity just a few seconds before half time off a penalty corner.

Florent Van Aubel put Belgium ahead for the first time in the match with a 50th minute goal from a penalty corner but Sukhjeet Singh (57th) equalised three minutes before the end of regulation time.

In the shootout, only Sukhjeet Singh scored for India, while Vivek Sagar Prasad, Abhishek and Araijeet Singh Hundal missed.

For Belgium, William Ghislain, Florent Van Aubel and Gauthier Boccard found the target while Arthur De Sloover missed.

India had lost to the same opponents 1-4 in their earlier match on Friday. Before that, the Harmanpreet Singh-led Indian side had defeated Argentina 5-4 in shootout on Wednesday.

It was Belgium's aggressive goalkeeping that saw them through the thrilling encounter where India went all-out to avenge their previous match defeat.

India got off to a fine start with dominant display of ball possession and well-organised foray into the opposition circle.

Though young forward Abhishek's first shot on goal in the opening minutes found no success, he teamed up with Sanjay to help India win their first penalty corner of the match as early as in the ninth minute.

Skipper Harmanpreet Singh came up with a good flick but an experienced Vincent Vanasch saved it well.

Building on this momentum in their attack, India drew first blood in the 11th minute when young forward Araijeet Singh Hundal scored a brilliant field goal.

A well-timed aerial ball by Manpreet Singh from the midfield was picked up superbly by Sukhjeet Singh, who then unleashed a powerful shot on goal and an alert Hundal gave it the finishing touches with a perfect deflection to put it past Vanasch.

The final moments of the first quarter saw India put up a spirited defence, led by keeper Krishan Pathak who made a fine diving effort to save Cedric Charlier's reverse hit.

India went into the second quarter with improvised attacks as young guns Sukhjeet and Abhishek continued to impress. They managed to fetch India their second PC, which was well-taken by Jugraj Singh but the Belgian defence was too strong to break.

Though India created several chances in this quarter where they could have taken the scoreline to 2-0, they instead ended up conceding a goal seconds before the half-time hooter.

It was an infringement in the circle that gave away a PC. While Alexander Hendrickx's drag-flick was saved by Pathak, he could do little to stop Denayer who picked up the high rebound to get the ball in.

After the ten-minute half-time break, India took the intensity of the game up a notch. Manpreet Singh made a stupendous defensive interception to prevent a shot on goal from Nelson Onana.

The following minutes in the third quarter saw both teams trade chances in their respective circles but they remained goal-less with the score continuing to read 1-1.

Vanasch remained Belgium's bulwark in defence as he made a fine save to stop Gurjant Singh's diving deflection from the right only seconds before the third quarter ended.

The final quarter saw Belgium's attackers test the Indian defence. While their PC in the initial minutes of the fourth quarter was denied after a referral by India, a defensive error in the following minutes gave away a PC to the home side.

This time, Florent Van Aubel was on fire. His backhand touch after Hendrickx's drag-flick was saved by Sreejesh gave Belgium a 2-1 lead.

However, this 50th-minute goal did not dent India's spirit as they continued their hunt for an equalizer in full gusto. It was captain Harmanpreet who led India's resurgence.

Playing up the field, he received the ball at the top of the circle and turned around to send a brilliant pass to Sukhjeet whose one-handed deflection earned India that elusive equaliser.

India play Argentina again on Sunday.

Pro League: India women suffer second straight loss to Belgium

Action from the Women's Pro League hockey match played between India and Belgium in Antwerp, on Saturday

IMAGE: Action from the Women's Pro League hockey match played between India and Belgium, in Antwerp, on Saturday. Photograph: Hockey India/X

The Indian women's hockey team on Saturday lost to Belgium 1-2 -- its back-to-back defeat to the home side -- as its European leg of the FIH Pro League further slipped into chaos.

The Indian women's team, under new coach Harendra Singh and captain Salima Tete, were beaten 0-2 by Belgium on Thursday after opening its campaign with a 0-5 thrashing at the hands of Argentina on Wednesday.

Belgium were ahead 2-0 at half-time with goals from Ambre Ballenghien (14th minute) and Vanessa Blockmans (20th). Both the Belgium goals came from penalty corners.

Kumari Sangita pulled one back for India in the 34th minute with a field goal. The fourth quarter did not yield any goal for both sides.

Belgium earned three penalty corners in the match while India got none.

Belgium began the game with a full-court press, making it difficult for the Indians to play out from the back.

The Indians withstood the initial pressure and began dominating possession, while Belgium continued to press, looking for a chance to score on the counter-attack.

The pressure resulted in a penalty corner for Belgium, and Ballenghien stepped up to power the ball past Savita Punia into goal, putting her team ahead as the first quarter drew to a close.

In the second quarter, Belgium employed the same tactic while India attempted to stitch a few passes together in the opposition half.

Five minutes into the quarter, Belgium's high press resulted in another penalty corner, and Blockmans pounced on Louise Versavel's deflected shot to score the second goal of the game.

India reacted to the goal through Tete, who turned on a sixpence in midfield, blazed to the right corner, and unleashed a rocket on goal, which was saved by Belgian keeper Elodie Picard.

India struggled to play out of their half as Belgium continued to close down their passing lanes, forcing the Indian defence into a scramble to keep it 2-0 heading into half-time.

Belgium further intensified the pressure in the third quarter.

However, Jyoti bypassed the press to find Deepika, whose forward pass deflected to Sangita in the circle. She flashed it into Picard's goal to bring India back into the game.

After the goal, India occasionally started to beat the Belgian press, but the home team was quick to threaten the Indian defence. They won the ball high up the pitch and forced Savita into action.

Delphine Marien, who was later named player of the match, remained a constant threat down the right wing for Belgium, but the Indian defence stood firm, and the quarter ended 2-1 in Belgium's favour.

The final quarter saw India turn over the ball in their half, but Belgium failed to capitalize. The game became stretched as both teams looked to score quickly towards the end.

India created a chance to score through Deepika, but her shot was saved, and Sangita snatched the chance to score from the deflection but was not able to convert it.

Savita had to stay alert in goal as the Belgian forwards constantly won the ball and threatened to score.

With five minutes left in the quarter, Belgium earned a penalty corner, but the ball sailed wide of the post.

India grew into the game, pushing ahead in search of an equalizer. Deepika was handed a chance to score in the final moments, but the Belgian defence rushed to subdue the chaos in front of the goal and sealed a 2-1 victory.

This was the Indian women's team's seventh defeat on the trot against Belgium in all international matches.

India will play against Argentina in their next match in Antwerp on Sunday.

Get Rediff News in your Inbox:
Source: PTI© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.

Paris Olympics 2024

Paris Olympics 2024