Published On: Thu, Dec 7th, 2017

Hockey World League Finals: India edge out Belgium in sudden death to advance to semi final

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India punched well above their weight in their quarter final encounter against Belgium in Odisha. Belgium came into the match with an unbeaten record in the league stages and was billed a top contender for the title but the hosts had other plans. After a 3-3 normal time the 10000 strong crowd was in for a treat as the match went into a penalty shoot out with the hosts coming out victorious 3-2 in sudden death.

After a barren first, the third quarter witnessed fast- paced, exciting hockey that yielded as many as three goals. Just a minute after the change of ends, Gurjant gave India the lead, pushing in a ball from goalmouth melee after Sunil’s initial reverse shot was saved by the Belgian goalkeeper.

No one had expected India to go 2-0 up against the World No. 3 side. But there was no stopping this side.

Interestingly, this is the second time in as many editions that India has accounted for the unbeaten side in the quarterfinals.

The Belgian, who were unbeaten in the pool stage, had two great chances in the form of two penalty corners at the fag end of the match to score the winner but the Indians defended well to take the game into shoot-out.

In the topsy-turvy shoot-out, Lalit Upadhyay, Rupinder and Harmanpreet scored from India. India’s semifinal opponent will be decided after the conclusion of today’s remaining two quarterfinals.

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