India lose 1-2 to Belgium in three-nation hockey tournament
Despite taking a 1-0 lead in the third quarter through a splendid penalty corner conversion by Harmanpreet Singh, India conceded two goals in the final quarter to lose the match on Friday night.
Riding high on an impressive 5-2 win against Germany in their first match on Thursday, Belgium got off the blocks against India with vigour.
However, the Indian defence led by Rupinder Pal Singh, Harmanpreet Singh and Surender Kumar, who played his 50th international match, prevented them from taking an early lead.
After ending the first quarter in a stalemate, India were quick to earn their first PC in the 19th minute. Though dragflicker Harmanpreet’s attempt was well-struck and fierce, it was blocked by the Belgian defender’s stick.
But soon India forward Ramandeep Singh, who is back in action after an injury break, did well to win the team their second PC. He was tactical with his dribble to find the foot of Belgian defender inside the striking circle.
However, Belgium goalkeeper Jeremy Gucassoff denied India an early celebration as he came up with an impressive save to keep dragflicker Harmanpreet from converting the goal.
The 10-minute break saw some vital strategic changes brought in by chief coach Roelant Oltmans and India came up with an improvised attack.
It paid off as the team won its fourth PC of the match only minutes into the third quarter but Harmanpreet was unlucky yet again as his fiercely-struck flick was blocked away by the Belgian defenders.
Though he was quick to get the rebound and attempted a reverse hit on goal, he was slightly off target with the ball hitting the crossbar.