Antwerp (Belgium): The Indian men’s hockey team eked out a fighting 2-1 win over reigning World and European champions Belgium to register their fourth consecutive win of the tour here Tuesday.
Odisha’s Amit Rohidas (10th minute) and Simranjeet Singh (52nd) scored for World No.5 India. Belgium’s lone goal came from the stick of captain Felix Denayer in the 33rd minute.
Riding high on confidence after their 5-1 win over Spain in the third match of the Tour of Belgium, the Men in Blue started on an attacking note against the hosts and earned a penalty corner in the 10th minute, which was duly converted by Amit Rohidas to give his side the lead.
World No. 2 Belgium, however, did not sit back and tried to counter the Indian attacks. But some last-ditch defending from the Indians coupled with some fine saves by experienced goalkeeper P R Sreejesh helped the visitors go into first quarter break with a one goal lead.
With five minutes to go for half-time, Belgium earned their first penalty corner of the match, but Indian custodian Krishan B Pathak, who replaced Sreejesh for the second quarter, made an outstanding save to deny the World Champions from levelling the scores.
Belgium showed their quality in the opening minutes of the third quarter as they secured another penalty corner in the 33rd minute and Denayer scored with stunning drag-flick to level the scores.
Thereafter, both the teams seemed focused on not giving away possession cheaply as the third quarter ended on level terms.
Belgium made a fast start in the final quarter and won a couple of penalty corners in quick succession but Pathak was up to the task again as he made some crucial diving saves to deny the hosts.
India, on the other hand, were happy to sit back and wait for their opportunity. Their tactic bore fruit when they scored a well-constructed team goal Simranjeet Singh.
The two teams will again meet Thursday.