India down world champions Belgium to maintain winning run

Goals from Amit Rohidas and Simranjeet Singh helped India register a 2-1 win over the hosts.

By Olympic Staff Writer ·

The Indian men's hockey team beat world champions Belgium 2-1 in their own backyard in their fourth match of the ongoing tour on Tuesday.

Amit Rohidas (10th minute) and Simranjeet Singh (52nd minute) scored on either side of Felix Denayer's 33rd-minute goal to ensure the Indians maintained their all-win record on the tour so far.

Boosted by their comprehensive win over Spain in the previous tie, the Indians began the match on the front foot, attacking the Belgians with purpose.

While the hosts did well to restrict their opponents, they ended up conceding a short corner - an opportunity that Rohidas made the most of by slotting the ball in the Belgian goal to hand India the lead.

Simrajeet Singh scored the winner in India’s 2-1 win over Belgium. Image courtesy: Hockey India

Belgium, however, didn’t let the early goal perturb them too much as they looked for a way to level the match.

But the Indian backline was up to the task, making crucial interceptions alongside some fine saves from goalkeeper PR Sreejesh to ensure they went into the quarter break with their noses ahead.

Incessant attack

The second quarter followed a similar pattern as the home team continued to press for an equaliser.

Their best chance came from a short corner just ahead of the half-time whistle, but Krishan B Pathak, who had replaced Sreejesh in the Indian goal for the second quarter, pulled off a stunning save to ensure India's lead remained intact.

Belgium, however, finally broke the Indian resistance as their skipper Denayer drew his side level at the start of the third quarter with a piercing drag-flick.

Goalkeeper Krishan B Pathak was in top form against Belgium. Image courtesy: Hockey India

Final flourish

The Red Lions of Belgium were now going all out for a winner, but found themselves up against a sizeable obstacle in the shape of Pathak.

The Indian stopper pulled off a number of fine stops as the clock ticked down.

That allowed India to grab the winner on a counter attack in the final quarter as Simranjeet scored a field goal.

Though the Rio 2016 silver medallists Belgium were awarded another penalty corner in the final minutes, Pathak was once again up to the task to deny the hosts any route back into the game as India registered another win.

The team has won all its matches on tour so far, kicking off with a 2-0 win against the hosts, and then beating Spain comfortably in their next two encounters.

The Indian men now have a rest day before facing Belgium again on Thursday in their fifth and final match of the tour.