Sharda Nand Tiwari scored the solitary goal for the defending champions.
Reigning champions and hosts India produced a magnificent defensive display to defeat Belgium by a solitary goal in a replay of the competition final from Lucknow 2016. Belgium had more shots, circle penetrations, possession, and penalty corners, but it was India who emerged winners thanks to a 21st minute penalty corner effort from Sharda Nand Tiwari, who flicked high into the goal from the left of the circle.
Belgium piled on the pressure on India in the final stages and boosted by a yellow card five-minute suspension for India’s Yashdeep Siwach, certainly looked capable of tying the match and forcing a shoot-out. A late penalty corner arrived moments after Belgium replaced their goalkeeper with an outfield player, but India goalkeeper Pawan produced two vital saves to send his team into the competition semi-finals at the expense of their opponents.
“With the plan we had, we tried to execute that but still a few things couldn’t happen”, said India’s Vishnukant Singh, who was named Player of the Match. “It was a really tough match. We cannot underestimate our opponents. Our plan was to win and it is important that we enjoy that.”
Belgium captain Dylan Englebert said: “We played a great game against India. I think it was beautiful to watch, great actions and we did our best. With a bit more luck we might have scored and gone to shoot-outs. Of course, we are disappointed, but I’m proud of my team and proud of what we did. I think we gave everything, and that is what we are happy [about].”
To mark World Aids Day, players competing in today’s fixtures were wearing a red band on their playing shirt sleeve in support of this great cause.