India’s most successful Olympic Campaign in 49 years was once again denied by the defeat against the Belgians. Belgium won the game 5-2! However, India at a point in the game was on a lead of 2-1. The goalscorers for India were Sardar Manpreet Singh and Defender Harmanpreet Singh. One of the goals for the Indians was a field goal while the other was off a penalty corner. On the other hand, the Belgian goalscorers include John Dohmen, Alexander Hendrickx, and Loick Luypaert. So, how did the game pan out here’s a look: –
First Quarter: –
The game began with the Indians pressing forward early and trying to create a chance. Mandeep however, lost the ball in the circle of the opposition defense. In contrast, the Belgians won a penalty corner and converted it in the 2nd minute itself. 1-0, Belgium! The 7th minute then pulled the game back as the nation’s best Harmanpreet slammed his 5th PC goal of the tournament with India equalizing. The 8th minute again had in store a bright smile as Amit Rohidas crossed the ball towards Mandeep from the right flank. Mandeep received well, turned, and slammed it back into the net. 2-1, India! Amit Rohidas was the star of the quarter with his defensive skills and pin-point passing.
Second Quarter: –
The second quarter began on a sour note for the Indians with them conceding 3 consecutive penalty corners. Then in the 19th minute came a tracer bullet-like PC stroke from the stick of Alexander which rammed into the Indian net. 2-2, Belgium equalizes! The quarters’ possession was 55-45 dominated by India but the Belgians had their fair share of chances. The 29th minute saw India win a PC but Harman’s shot this time around was off target. With the game on equal terms, we were in for a ride in the next half.
Third Quarter: –
The third quarter didn’t turn out fruitful for any opposition as it was goalless. Arthur Van Doren did well to dispossess Mandeep in the 33rd minute. 39th minute saw India win a penalty corner. Harman’s shot again was blocked by the Belgian first rusher. In the 42nd minute, Thomas Briels, the Belgian forward sprints ahead and enters the shooting circle. But he is taken down successfully by India’s Sumit, who helps his team propel a counter! This quarter was a demonstration of clean hockey intended to hold the game.
Fourth Quarter: –
The quarter began with quick Indian passing. Lalit Upadhyay received the ball in the circle but failed to convert the chance. Belgium seemed to be dominating this quarter. A stat showed that both teams had made 18-18 circle penetrations. 49th and 53rd minute railed down India’s hopes as Alexander Hendrickx converted first a PC and then a penalty stroke to make the scoreline 4-2, Belgium! India in the 57th minute brought out PR Sreejesh and played their final card of 11 field players. But it didn’t turn out that fruitful as they conceded another goal. This was against the run of play and John Dohmen was the protagonist.5-2, Belgium win.
With this victory, the Belgians have qualified for the finals while India awaits their third-place game. As a nation are hopes still ride high on winning the bronze!