INDIA’S DRAGFLICK SENSATION Harmanpreet Singh scored twice to ensure India beat Belgium 3-2 in a battle of nerves at the 3 Nations Invitational Tournament. Earlier in the tournament, India had lost 1-2 to Belgium in their first match and drew 2-2 with Germany in their second game. It was goals by Harmanpreet Singh (34', 38') and forward Ramandeep Singh (49') that helped India win match No.3.
After losing their previous game 1-2 to Germany on Sunday, Belgium made a strong start against India by playing an attacking game right from the word go. The 2016 Rio Olympics Silver Medalists showed precision and were dominant with skill and ball possession. Though India caught them on the wrong foot early on by earning back-to-back PCs, India could not convert the chance. Belgium, however, came up with a brilliant field goal, thanks to Amaury Keusters to take a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute and put India under pressure.
India played cautiously in the second quarter, not allowing Belgian attackers easy penetration inside the striking circle. Meanwhile, India won two PCs in the 23rd and 24th minute but Harmanpreet Singh’s well-struck flick was blocked by Belgian defenders. The second quarter went goalless.
Going into the second half, India continued to trail but their breakthrough came in the 34th minute when India bagged their fifth PC of the match. This time Harmanpreet was impeccable with his dragflick, making sure he converted the goal to give India the equalizer. His exploits didn’t stop at that. In the 38th minute, he converted another goal through a tactfully-earned PC to help India claim a 2-1 lead over Belgium. Though Belgium earned a PC in the 40th minute, India goal keeper Vikas Dahiya did well to come up with an impressive save and kept the lead. There was a lot of action in this quarter with both teams trading PCs. Belgium found success in the 45th minute through Tanguy Cosyns brilliantly struck flick. This was Belgium’s fourth PC of the match.
With the score reading 2-2, it all came down to the final quarter where both teams pushed hard and fast to seal the match in their favour. India held their nerve with a strong fight back, constantly attacking the Belgian defence and make space in the D. India forward Ramandeep Singh was the one to find the breakthrough with good assist by his compatriots in the 49th minute. His successful shot on goal helped India regain the lead with the score reading 3-2. The Indian defenders were commendable in their effort to keep India in the lead and eventually win the match.
India will play their next match on June 6 against Germany at 14.30 hours.
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