Bhubaneswar, Feb 9 : World No 1 Belgium came-up with dominant performance to beat India 3-2 in a high-voltage match at the on-going FIH Hockey Pro League here on Sunday. It was goals by Alexander Hendrickx (3'), Maxime Plennevaux (17' & 26') that ensured Belgium's victory while goals by Vivek Sagar Prasad (15'), Amit Rohidas (17') kept India in the hunt till the final hooter. The win enabled Belgium to keep their top position at the standings with 14 points from six games, while India were placed second with eight points from four matches.
It was Alexander Hendrickx who was impeccable to score off a penalty corner in the 3rd minute to give Belgium a 1-0 lead and push India on the back-foot early in the game. But seconds before the first hooter, young gun Vivek Sagar Prasad equalised after India defender Surender Kumar set up this crucial goal, tackling past two Belgians defenders to drive in from the left flank to assist Vivek positioned in front of the goal mouth. Both teams upped the ante in the second quarter, rallying with speed and tactical play to make quick circle penetrations.
Minutes into the quarter, experienced Arthur van Doren set up the attack finding Simon Gougnard in the circle who assisted Maxime Plennevaux to score Belgium's second goal. Hardly shaken up by Belgian's attack, 15 seconds into conceding the second goal, Lalit Upadhyay displayed excellent tackling skills to create India's first PC. Though Harmanpreet Singh's dragflick bounced off Belgian defender, Amit Rohidas succeeded on picking up the rebound to score the goal and level scores 2-2. But a callous error while passing saw Harmanpreet give away possession in the 26th minute that enabled Maxime Plennevaux score Belgium's third goal. (UNI)