Star Indian hockey players showed their prowess once again in the international hockey tour at Belgium. The in-form forwards Mandeep Singh and Akashdeep Singh fought back against the home side in dying minutes to give their side an emphatic 2-0 win on Thursday. In the opening battle of three-match series against Belgium, men in blue performed exceptionally. It looked like they were well-prepared for strong attacks in the game against powerful opponents.
Not so surprisingly, India dominated the early minutes of the thrilling encounter as the brilliant blues grabbed a chance to score from first Penalty Corner of the eve. However, the clever goalie of Belgium, Loic van Doren somehow saved the shot to prevent India from taking the lead. In reply to India’s initial penalty corner, hosts also played some amazing shots which were later saved by Krishan Pathak who put up a smart defence against Belgian squad. As a result, the first quarter went goal-less between both the strong teams.
In the second quarter, India raced to score a lead from Penalty Corners but unfortunately, Belgian players again made a good save against the visitors. The strong defence of hosting team was at hand which prevented Indians from the much-needed opener. In the second quarter also both the teams have to settle down without any goal despite putting their best efforts.
India maintained its dominance alive in the third quarter also as they kept on testing van Doren on the goalpost. All the trials and creative play finally paid off as star forward Mandeep Singh found the net in 39th minute. Mandeep fired a shot which directly hit the net and India finally opened their account against the hosts.
Before the Belgian players could come back in the final quarter, India scored another winning goal. All thanks to superstar player Akashdeep Singh who finished off in style for India. Akashdeep doubled the lead for his side in the 54th minute with his slick move. As a result, India won the game with 1-0 lead in the series.
Both the teams will next play against each other in the second encounter of three-match series on September 28th at Antwerp, Belgium.