India beat Belgium, end tour on high
Antwerp, October 3
The Indian men’s hockey team outclassed reigning world and European Champions Belgium 5-1 in the fifth and final match to maintain a hundred per cent record in their tour of Belgium.
World No. 5 India won all their five matches during the tour, beating Belgium 2-0 in the opening match, and registering 6-1 and 5-1 wins over Spain in the next two games, before finishing off their tour with two more wins (2-1 and 5-1).
In the fifth match, Simranjeet Singh (7th), Lalit Kumar Upadhyay (35th), Vivek Sagar Prasad (36th), Harmanpreet Singh (42nd) and Ramandeep Singh (43rd) scored one goal each to earn a scintillating victory for the Indian team.
India produced a stunning move in the 7th minute to take the lead through forward Simranjeet. Belgium forced a comeback but their penalty corner was saved by Krishan Pathak in the 9th minute, helping India to maintain their one-goal advantage at the first break.
The second quarter saw world No. 2 Belgium win back-to-back penalty corners in the 16th minute but Pathak made sure that there was no damage. Belgium tried hard to score an equaliser but some resolute defending saw India take their lead into the half-time break.
The visitors started the third quarter with an attacking intent, and were rewarded immediately, with Lalit Kumar Upadhyay bagging his first goal of the match in the 35th minute to extend India’s lead to 2-0. Youngster Vivek Sagar Prasad (36th) also registered his name on the scoresheet as he produced a crafty finish to beat the Belgian goalkeeper. The 38th minute saw Belgium win a penalty corner but PR Sreejesh’s diving save kept the score 3-0 in India’s favour. However, a brilliant strike from Alexander Hendrickx made it 3-1 in the 39th minute.
India scored twice in two minutes just before the end of the third quarter to extend their lead to 5-1. India’s fourth goal was scored by dragflicker Harmanpreet Singh, who converted a penalty corner in the 42nd minute, while the fifth goal came through Ramandeep Singh, who scored in the 43rd minute.