HomeSportsHockeyIndian Hockey Team brings World Champions to knees
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Indian Hockey Team brings World Champions to knees

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Krishan Pathak and PR Sreejesh’s brilliance between the poles and impressive performances from Mandeep Singh and Ramandeep Singh in front of the opposition goal helped Indian Men’s Hockey team defeat the World No.1 and the reigning Champion Belgium 2-1 in the FIH Pro Hockey League’s first game between the two sides on Saturday.

Both Ramandeep Singh and Mandeep Singh were on target as the Men in Blue recorded their 3rd Pro League victory at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

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The Game

Like their first game against the Netherlands, India got off to a great start with an early goal in the first quarter.

It was on a counter-attack that Mandeep Singh’s deflected drag flick from Dilpreet Singh’s attempt just outside of the D put the hosts in the driver’s spot.

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However, that was one of the rare attacks from the Indians, with Belgium dominating the proceedings. Krishan Pathak, nonetheless, was up to the task and made save after save.

With so much attacking work-rate, the Europeans managed to get three penalty corners in the first half. However, the Indian defence turned away all of them.

PR Sreejesh took up from where Pathak left in the second quarter keeping the clean sheet intact as the first half ended 1-0 in the hosts’ favour.

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Belgium returned in the second half with a game plan and soon drew level through Gauthier Boccard’s slick drag flick.

Hardik Singh almost scored four minutes later after dribbling past two Belgian defenders to be one-on-one with goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch. However, the latter made a brilliant save to keep things balanced.

India then found the net six minutes later through a penalty corner. However, the goal was disallowed after the TV umpire spotted that the ball was stopped inside of the 22-yard line.

India got a penalty corner early in the fourth quarter. Victor Wegnez blocked Harmanpreet Singh’s drag-flick with his foot. However, the loose ball fell to Ramandeep at the near post. And the forward had the easy job of tapping it in the goal to again reinstate India’s lead. The hosts saw off a game despite a late flurry of goals.

The win now takes India to the second spot in the Pro League standings, only behind top-ranked Belgium.

The team has 8 points out of a possible 9 in their first 3 games whereas Belgium have amassed 11 out of a possible 15 points.

The second match will be played at 5 p.m. on Sunday at the Kalinga Stadium.

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