New Delhi: After suffering a 4-5 defeat against hosts New Zealand on the opening day, Belgium came up with a clinical performance to beat India 2-0 in the second match at the Four Nations Invitational Tournament at Tauranga. Goals by Sébastien Dockier (8’) and Victor Wegnez (34’) ensured Belgium stayed on top of the game.
Both teams played out an exciting first quarter, though it was Belgium who constantly tested Indian defence, moving the ball swiftly, as they created plenty of opportunities in the striking circle. Their first big attempt came in the 4th minute when Belgian forward swiftly smashed a reverse hit to the post but India’s No.1 goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, who is making a comeback from long injury layoff, made an impressive save.
Four minutes later, a circle penetration by Belgium saw Sébastien Dockier demonstrate a classic reverse hit to put the ball into the post leaving little chance for Sreejesh to save. The 1-0 lead in the 8th minute put India on the backfoot. In the 12th minute, however, India found a golden opportunity to equalize when forward Ramandeep Singh won the team the first PC of the match but the chance went begging, as the ball could not be stoppped at the top of the D.
A compact Belgian defence slowed down India’s attack in the second quarter. But relentless Indian forwards worked in packs as they kept up their hunt to find a successful penetration. Seven minutes into the second quarter, India’s moment to score was created by colts Armaan, Vivek Prasad and Mandeep who worked in tandem in front of the post forcing Belgian defenders to make an error. The attempt resulted in the second PC of the match for India. Unfortunately, though Harmanpreet Singh’s dragflick was defended by Belgium’s first runner.
The final quarter saw India push their limits in their attack, created a few good chances, but couldn’t find a breakthrough ending the match with a 0-2 loss.