India concede late goal to lose 1-2 to Belgium in FIH Pro League
London: India conceded a late goal to lose 1-2 against Olympic champions Belgium in a keenly-contested FIH Men’s Hockey Pro League match here on Friday.
All the goals in the match came through penalty corners.
It was world no.2 Belgium who took the lead in the 18th minute through Thibeau Stockbroekx before India equalised via Mandeep Singh in the 25th minute.
But the Indian defence crumbled in the dying minutes of the match as they conceded a few penalty corners, one of which was converted by Nelson Onana (60th minute).
The match was even-stevens till the final hooter with both the teams matching each other.
India got the first chance in the fifth minute but Hardik Singh’s effort from top of the circle was saved by an agile Belgium goalkeeper Loic van Doren with his extended left hand.
Seconds from the first quarter Belgium earned a penalty corner but it was defended well by the Indian backline.
Belgium secured back-to-back penalty corners in the 18th minute and Stockbroekx broke the deadlock from the second chance, deflecting in Lo ck Luypaert’s feed after India goalkeeper PR Sreejesh made a double save.
It took India seven minutes to draw parity through an opportunist Mandeep who tapped home from a rebound after skipper Harmanpreet Singh’s flick from a penalty corner was saved by the Belgian defence.
Two minutes into the third quarter Belgium secured another set piece but failed to utilise it.
Harmanpreet’s flick from a penalty corner minutes later was saved by van Doren. In the 45th minute, Belgium secured another penalty corner but the Indians defended in numbers.
Four minutes into the final quarter, Belgium earned another set piece and this time Sreejesh came to India’s rescue.
India too had a few great chances to take the lead but Sukhjeet Singh and Gurjant Singh’s efforts were saved by the Belgian custodian.
The Indian crumbled under Belgium’s relentless pressure in the final minute of the game and conceded back-to-back penalty corners, the second of which was put into goal by Onana from a rebound after Sreejesh made the