Hockey: Belgium overpowers India in FIH  Pro League
Photo: Hockey India

Hockey: Belgium overpowers India in FIH Pro League

Bhubaneswar, February 9, 2020

World champions Belgium overcame a speedy and skilful India team 3-2 to reverse the previous day's result and maintain their position at the top of the FIH Hockey Pro League here today.

A vocal and enthusiastic crowd at the Kalinga Stadium watched as the action flowed back and forth, with Belgium taking an early lead only to see India come right back into the match at the end of the first half.

India's head coach Graham Reid had already warned his team that, "an injured lion is dangerous." And so it proved as Belgium edged it in a thriller, in which no quarter was given by either side.

Just three minutes into the game and Belgium opened the scoring through a penalty corner rocket from Alexander Hendrickx. India equalised through Vivek Prasad. The second quarter then saw a flood of goal-scoring activity as Amit Rohidas found the net with Belgium answering immediately with a goal from Maxime Plennevaux.

It was Plennevaux who scored the winner, but both sides came tantalisingly close to adding to the scoreline. Good performances from Vincent Vanasch in the Belgium goal and P R Sreejesh and Krishan Pathak sharing the goalkeeping duties for India kept the score at 3-2.

Speaking after the game, Player of the Match, Belgium's Nicolas de Kerpel said: "It [India] is always a really tough place to play. I hope the next time we play India, it is not so tough."

Talking about his team's penalty corner routine, de Kerpel said: "It is all about rhythm. If we get the rhythm then we have the best penalty corner routine in the world. We scored from one today, so I hope that we are getting into the rhythm now."

About his own performance, de Kerpel said: "I am happy to be here as Player of the Match but I know there is more improvements to be made to my game."

India's captain Manpreet Singh, said: "I think we have learnt a lot of things over the two games. We had good opportunities but we didn't make the most of them."

He added: "I am really proud of the team. In our matches against the Netherlands and Belgium, we started at a good pace from the first whistle and we are scoring in the first minutes. And we have good counter attacks, so now we need to make the most of those.


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