India beat Belgium 4-3, level series

Updated: 06 August 2009 08:57 IST

India defeated Belgium 4-3 in the second hockey test match Thursday at Braxgata, Boom to level the three-match series.

Braxgata, Belgium:

Captain Sandeep Singh starred with two goals as India beat Belgium 4-3 in the second hockey Test to level the three-match series in the second leg of their ongoing European tour here.

Sandeep sounded the board in 32nd and 64th minute while Hari Prasad (8th) and Rajpal Singh (55th) scored one each for India. Belgium scored through Tom Boon (4th), Cedric Charlier (11th) and Jeff Thys (18th).

India had lost the first encounter 3-6.

India brought back goalkeeper Adrian D'souza, Sardar Singh, Rajpal, Gurvinder Chandi and Bharat Chhikara into the starting lineup yesterday, while Sandeep also recovered from flu to take the field.

The match began on an aggressive note as India tried to break the ice in the second minute, but Chandi's attempt was padded away by Belgium custodian Vincent.

Belgium earned their first penalty corner two minutes later when Sardar Singh playing as the freeman, committed a defensive error.

Resultant flick struck V S Vinaya leading to a penalty stroke which was converted by Boon to give Belgium the lead in fourth minute.

India fought back soon but couple of attempts for the equaliser by SV Sunil and Shivendra Singh were off the target.

However, Hari Prasad found the mark in eighth minute to level the score.

Belgium were back on their toes and sparkled with off-the-ball running and overlaps. Their efforts soon paid dividends as a faulty clearance by Sandeep was intercepted by Charlier who beat D'souza from the top of the circle to give Belgium the lead again in 11th minute.

The tally was further increased after seven minute after Jeff Thys got past both Vikram Pillay and Gurbaj Singh and beat D'souza low to his right.

India regrouped themselves and initiated onslaughts to reduce the margin. However, penetrations from Sunil and Rajpal Singh bore no fruit as Belgium captain Xavier Reckinger and Vincent stood tall.

However, India scored their second goal in the 32nd minute when Sandeep sank a penalty corner to the right of Vincent. Bharat Chhikara missed an open chance immediately after the break when he failed to latch to a Rajpal cross.

India, trailing 2-3 during the breather, again lost an opportunity midway in the second half when Chandi missed after a Sunil setup, but Rajpal Singh made amends as he flicked past Vincent from a penalty corner in the 55th minute.

India's match winner came from their last penalty corner after Chandi was fouled in the 64th minute. Sandeep fired home with aplomb to round off the tally in India's favour.

The third and final Test shall be played here on Friday.

Topics : Hockey
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