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FIH Pro League 2023-24: Indian men's hockey team go down against Belgium

Published at :May 24, 2024 at 1:41 PM
Modified at :May 25, 2024 at 1:34 PM
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(Courtesy : Hockey India)

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Indian men’s hockey team were held by Argentina in their first match of the European leg in FIH Pro League 2023-24.

The Indian men’s hockey team on Friday went down 1-4 against Belgium in their second match of the European leg of the Men’s FIH Pro League 2023-24. For India, Abhishek (55’) scored the lone goal, while for Belgium, Felix Denayer (22’), Alexander Hendrickx (34’, 60’) and Cedric Charlier (49’) were on target.

In the early exchanges, it was Belgium which looked more dangerous; however, they came up against a well-organised Indian defensive unit, which absorbed the pressure well. Just after the halfway mark in the quarter, the Indian men’s hockey team started to go through the gears, pushing Belgium back into their half, with a couple of attacks from the right. With both teams unable to break the deadlock, the first quarter ended 0-0.

Both teams started the second quarter well, matching each other toe to toe in the early exchanges. India earned a penalty corner within the first three minutes of the quarter but were unable to find the back of the net as Harmanpreet’s shot was well-blocked by Belgium goalkeeper.

However, with eight minutes remaining, Felix Denayer (22’) gave Belgium a 1-0 lead after he found the back of the net as he found himself in space inside the area and finished from close range. Despite repeated attacks, India were unable to cover the deficit going into half-time.

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India started the game aggressively after halftime, but the Belgium defence continued to hold down the fort. The cagey third quarter saw plenty of action on both ends, but it was Belgium which doubled their lead through Alexander Hendrickx (34’) after he successfully converted a penalty corner. At the end of the third quarter, Belgium led India by 2-0.

With 15 minutes left on the clock, India started showcasing urgency. But it was Belgium which extended their lead to 3-0 as Cedric Charlier (49’) scored a fine field goal. With five minutes remaining, Abhishek (55’) found the back of the net. Towards the end of the match, Belgium got a penalty stroke which was successfully converted by Alexander Hendrickx (60’).

The match ended with Belgium winning 4-1. Notably, Jarmanpreet Singh completed 100 international caps during the match against Belgium.

The Indian men’s hockey team will next take on Belgium again at 1945hrs IST on 25th May.

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