FIH PRO LEAGUE : Harmanpreet scores twice as India hammer Belgium 5-1 for first win of European leg

London (TIP)- Captain Harmanpreet Singh struck a brace as India stunned Olympics champions Belgium 5-1 here on June 2 to bounce back after back-to-back defeats in their European leg of the FIH Pro League. Midfielder Vivek Sagar Prasad gave India the lead in the second minute before Harmanpreet (20th and 30th minutes) scored twice from penalty corners. Amit Rohidas (29th) and Dilpreet Singh (60th) were the other Indian scorers. William Ghislain (46th) scored the lone goal for Belgium. India, who had come to Europe as Pro League table-toppers, had lost the opening game of the European leg to Belgium (1-2) before going down to Great Britain (2-4). With redemption on their mind, the Indians got off to a rollicking start with a well-executed field goal. It was Gurjant Singh who set up the goal for Vivek with a fine assist from the left flank.
After wasting their first penalty corner, India doubled their lead from the second as Harmanpreet fired a powerful drag-flick into the bottom corner. With a minute to go in the first half, Rajkumar Pal found Mandeep Singh on the right flank. The striker drove into the shooting circle before sending in a cross, which found Rohidas. With just the goalkeeper to beat, the defender made to mistake and fired in a tomahawk shot.
In the following minute, India extended their lead to 4-0 when they won yet another penalty corner. After Rohidas’ drag-flick was blocked, the rebound fell to Harmanpreet who broke no sweat in putting the ball past the Belgian goalkeeper.
Finding themselves on the back foot, Belgium tested their opponent’s defence when they were awarded back-to-back PCs in the start of the third quarter. PR Sreejesh showcased some fine goalkeeping skills and eventually cleared the ball to safety.
In the fourth quarter, Belgium finally found the breakthrough when William Ghislan scored a fine field goal. The goal didn’t dent India’s confidence. Determined to finish well, India stuck to their structure and produced good attacking hockey in the dying minutes which resulted in Dilpreet scoring India’s fifth goal.
Former captain Manpreet Singh was named the Player of the Match.
The win took India’s tally to 22 points from 11 matches.
Source: PTI

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