Johannesburg: India have been unlucky to concede a goal 26 second from time to draw 3-3 their opening game in the Champions Challenge hockey tournament against Belgium.
It was a match fought on even keel in Group A Saturday and the Indians struck thrice in the second half in quick succession, but they allowed the Belgians to level the score twice after they themselves caught up to make it 1-1.
Rupinder Pal Singh scored the first goal in the 45th minute, followed by Chingelnsana Singh in the 48th and V. Raghunath nine minutes later.
They looked well placed to win the game when the Belgian equalizer came through a penalty corner, Xavier Rekinger scoring off a rebound. Alexandre de Paeuw scored the first goal of the game in the 31st minute goal. Then Tom Boon scored the second in the 55th.
India next play hosts South Africa, who should have beaten Poland by a bigger margin than the eventual 3-1.
South Africa scored through two brilliantly taken penalty-corner drag-flicks in each half by Justin Reid-Ross of Northerns Blues and the third was a field goal going by Lloyd Norris-Jones. Artur Mikula scored for Poland after the South Africans struck twice.
In Pool B, tournament favourites Argentina were held to a 2-2 draw by unheralded Japan, semifinalists at the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy in September while Canada, who will be the main challengers for India in the New Delhi Olympic qualifiers, downed Malaysia 3-1.