Belgium got revenge for their defeat in the first leg on Saturday by beating India 3-2 in a pulsating encounter in the second leg of the FIH Pro League on Sunday.
It was Belgium’s first win over India in 9 matches but right until the very end, they would not have been sure of coming out on top.
The match started with a flurry of goals as five were scored in the first half itself.
Belgium’s Alexander Hendrickx started things off with a goal from a penalty corner in just the second minute of the match. A huge change of fortunes for Belgium who were unable to score from 13 opportunities in the first match.
The visitors dominated most of the first quarter but it was India that found the equaliser in the dying seconds. Surender Kumar came up with a wonderful run along the backline before delivering a nice pass to Vivek Prasad, who was able to slip the ball past Belgium goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch.
The second quarter started with a bang. A beautiful pass from Simon Gougnard found Nicolas de Kerpel, who came up with a delightful deflection to fox Krishan Pathak.
But even before the Red Lions could enjoy the feeling of being out in front again, India drew level. After a penalty corner, Vivek’s rebounded shot was saved but Amit Rohidas was on hand to slam the bouncing ball home from the right. He wasn’t going to miss from there.
The two sides played a pretty even game from this point. It was end-to-end stuff as both units tried to find a weakness but there were no goals to be seen. Not until Harmanpreet committed a howler to give the ball away to a Belgium forward just outside India’s circle.
Harmanpreet could have hit that anywhere but he chose to go across the field. de Kerpel was alert to the opportunity and pounced on the ball and then passed to Maxime Plennevaux who was able to direct the ball into the goal.
That was the last of the goals. Sreejesh had a good stint under the bar thereafter to prevent the Red Lions from doing any more damage.
After this round, Belgium are in top position with 14 points. India are in second place with 8 points and in two weeks time, they will be taking on Australia.