FIH Pro Hockey League highlights: Belgium beats India 3-2, top points table

Indian hockey players during its match against Belgium in the FIH Pro League at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubaneswar. Photo: PTI

World No.1 Belgium came-up with dominating performance to beat India 3-2 in a high-voltage match in the ongoing FIH Pro Hockey League at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday. Goals by Alexander Hendrickx (3'), and Maxime Plennevaux (17' & 26') that ensured Belgium's victory while goals by Vivek Sagar Prasad (15'), and Amit Rohidas (17') kept India in the hunt till the final hooter.

Check Pro Hockey League points table here

After losing its first match of the season, world champions Belgium hockey team ensured they end India's home leg with a win.

It was Hendrickx who scored off a penalty corner in the 3rd minute to give Belgium a 1-0 lead and push India on the backfoot early in the game. But seconds before the first hooter, young gun Prasad equalised after India defender Surender Kumar set up this crucial goal, tackling past two Belgians defenders to drive in from the left flank to assist Prasad positioned in front of the goal mouth.

Both teams upped the ante in the second quarter, rallying with speed and tactical play to make quick circle penetrations. Minutes into the quarter, experienced Arthur van Doren set up the attack finding Simon Gougnard in the circle who assisted Plennevaux to score Belgium's second goal.

Hardly shaken up by Belgian's attack, 15 seconds into conceding the second goal, Lalit Upadhyay displayed excellent tackling skills to create India's first PC. Though Harmanpreet Singh's dragflick bounced off Belgian defender, Rohidas succeeded on picking up the rebound to score the goal and level scores 2-2. But a callous error while passing saw Harmanpreet give away possession in the 26th minute that enabled Plennevaux score Belgium's third goal.

Though behind by a goal at half time, the 11 circle entries and six shots on goal India had made kept them in the game and as Chief Coach Graham Reid pointed out, they had to show better ball possession in the second half to find success.

But Belgian attack continued to be ruthless as they crusaded into India's circle. P.R. Sreejesh, however, continued to remain the cynosure of India's defence, stepping up for the team each time Belgium made potential attempt on goal. He made as many as four important saves that kept India in the game going into the final quarter.

Having messed up a PC opportunity in the third quarter, India made several attempts on goal in the final 15 minutes. They recorded 28 circle entries and 11 shots on goal at the end of the game while Belgium made 19 entries with 9 shots on goal.

But it was Belgium who had better ball possession with 52 percent as opposed to India's 48 per cent that eventually saw them romp home with winning points. India will next take on Australia on February 21 and 22 at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium.


6:21 PM IST Belgium are trying to play the ball high in the India half and this tactic definitely frustrating India, and gaps are beginning to show in the home team's defence

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54th minute: Belgium go on offensive

Belgium are trying to play the ball high in the India half and this tactic definitely frustrating India, and gaps are beginning to show in the home team's defence

36th minute: A great run by Stockbroekx and deceived well the Indian defence but Belgium continue to probe for a scoring chance.


key stats at Half time


HALF TIME: INDIA 2 | 3 BELGIUM


SCORELINE: INDIA 2 | 3 BELGIUM


India vs Belgium head to head


India can beat any team, says Belgium hockey coach McLeod

After facing a defeat at the hands of India, Belgium men's hockey team coach Shane Mcleod said that their opponents are going in moving in a good direction and can beat any team in the world.
 
"India showed today that they can beat any team in the world, we are sitting number No. 1 and regardless of how they did it, they did it. They are going in a good way," Mcleod said at the post-match press conference.
 
Indian men's hockey team defeated Belgium 2-1 in the FIH Hockey Pro League 2020 at Kalinga Stadium.
 
Mandeep Singh (2') and Ramandeep Singh (46') scored for India against the World Champions while Gauthier Boccard scored the lone goal for the visitors. With this sensational victory, India consolidated their world ranking from number five to four for the first time since 2003.
 
Mcleod said that the side created enough opportunities in the game but failed to execute them and hence faced defeat.
 
"Early in the game which gets quite bit of confidence and then we created chance after chance with penalty corners but there was more desperation than may be thought sometimes into our executions and things, I felt that as if we were chasing the game little bit not that we were poor but just the scoreline created the pressure that affected how to play a little bit," he said
 
McLeod added that the team won many corners but failed to attack especially in circles.
 
"We did not execute things very well, attacking circles and we had enough corner to win the game. The energy of the players increased towards the end but a little bit of frustration came in the end as well because we were not able to achieve what we were hoping to achieve," he added.

WATCH: India vs Belgium hockey match highlights

India can beat any team, says Belgium hockey coach McLeod

After facing a defeat at the hands of India, Belgium men's hockey team coach Shane Mcleod said that their opponents are going in moving in a good direction and can beat any team in the world.
 
"India showed today that they can beat any team in the world, we are sitting number No. 1 and regardless of how they did it, they did it. They are going in a good way," Mcleod said at the post-match press conference.

Kiren Rijiju lauds Indian hockey team after defeating Belgium 2-1

Union Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Saturday lauded Indian men's hockey team for defeating world number one Belgium 2-1 at the Kalinga Stadium in FIH Hockey Pro League.
 
"Well done boys as India defeated World No. 1 and World Champion Belgium 2-1 in 1st match of the double header in FIH Pro-League. Mandeep Singh & Ramandeep Singh scored for India. Well on course #RoadtoTokyo2020," Rijiju tweeted.
 
Mandeep Singh (2') and Ramandeep Singh (46') scored for India against the World Champions. With this sensational victory, India have consolidated their World ranking from number five to four for the first time since 2003.
 
Despite dominating with ball possession, making as many as 38 circle entries, taking 24 shots on goal and 12 penalty corners, the Belgian unit could not muster much success in the circle, thanks to stand-out performance by Indian goalkeepers PR Sreejesh and Krishan Pathak who lived up to the billing hooter-to-hooter, backing India's defence by knocking off pretty much every opportunity created by the Belgian strikers.
Indian Men's Hockey Team Captain Manpreet Singh (left), Mascot Olly, and Belgium Men's Hockey Team Captain Thomas Briels (right) pose with the FIH Hockey Pro League 2020 Trophy in Bhubaneswar

WATCH: What Belgium captain said after losing yesterday's match

India vs Belgium match 1 highlights

Strong performances from goalkeepers Krishan Pathak and PR Sreejesh coupled with some nifty work from the forwards whenever they got the chance helped India beat world champions and world no.1 Belgium 2-1 in the first match between the two sides in the FIH Pro Hockey League on Saturday. Mandeep Singh and Ramandeep Singh were on target as India recorded their third Pro League win at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
 
As was the case in their first match against the Netherlands, India scored early in the first quarter. Mandeep Singh deflected a drag flick from the edge of the D by Dilpreet Singh to put the hosts ahead at the end of a counter attack.
 
It was all Belgium after and Krishan Pathak made save after save to keep his team ahead. The world champions would get three penalty corners in the first half, all of which were turned away by the Indian defence. PR Sreejesh followed up Pathak's good work in the second quarter and the first half ended 1-0 in India's favour.
 
Belgium scored early in the second half to draw level with Gauthier Boccard's drag flick leaving Pathak with no chance. They both hit the top corner. Hardik Singh came close to scoring four minutes later, slipping between two Belgian defenders to be clear on goal. But goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch made a brilliant save to keep things level.
 
Six minutes later, India found the back of the net off a penalty corner. But the goal was disallowed after the TV umpire determined that the ball had been stopped inside the 22 yard line.
 
Pathak made a brilliant save to deny Belgium a minute before the end of the third quarter to keep things level and the fourth quarter started on 1-1.
 
India got a penalty corner early in the fourth quarter. Harmanpreet Singh's drag flick hit Victor Wegnez's foot and fell to Ramandeep at the near post, who only had to tap it into the goal to give India the lead. Belgium got back to back penalty corners immediately after, which Sreejesh did well to keep out.
 
Belgium were unable to dominate possession the way they did in the first quarter and the match ended in a flurry of penalty corners. India kept out the two that Belgium got, the last of which was seconds before the hooter went off.
 
The win takes India to second on the Pro League standings, behind top ranked Belgium. They have eight points out of a possible nine in their first three matches while Belgium have 11 points out of a possible 15.
Indian hockey team


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