The rusty Indian women’s hockey team was easily acquired several times before fighting in the fourth quarter, but ultimately lost to Belgium in Saturday’s two-legged FIH Pro League tie against Belgium.
The offensive start of the match created chances for both teams in the opening minutes, but the Belgium got the better of the lead through captain Nalen Barbara in the third minute.
The hosts put pressure on India with their constructive attack and scored two penalty corners at 5 and 7 respectively, but the Indian defense stood tall to refuse to score a second goal.
A few minutes later, India scored the first penalty corner of the match, but the Queen’s effort was off target, thus avoiding an equalizer in the first quarter.
With one goal back, India began to put pressure on the Belgian defense and midfield. He created an opportunity in the opening minutes, but Neha’s pass to Salima Tete went wide.
The host team responded with a quick counter-attack that helped them score back-to-back penalty corners, but again missed their chances of converting.
With the Belgian possession somewhat dominant, they tried to create chances, but the Indian defense struggled hard against everything the hosts threw at them and scored no goals at the end of the first half.
Belgium started the third quarter offensively, scoring a penalty corner in the 32nd minute but their effort went away from the goal post. Andre Ballengin scored the goal in the 35th minute to give the hosts a 2-0 lead.
The Indian Defense Department caught the guards as Belgium quickly took over the Long Corner and the pass inside the circle was the final touchdown from Ballenghian.
After making a few more entries into the Indian circle, Belgium scored another penalty corner but their attempt failed to convert it as it fell to the feet of the Belgian invader.
India did not give up and saw a conversion at one of their two chances at the beginning of the final quarter.
Young Ishka Chaudhry hit the target, but the young forward Lalremsyamyi scored for India in the 48th minute. He won the ball in the offensive quarter and calmly slotted it home.
India continued to exert pressure on Belgium in an attempt to balance the final stages of the match, but the hosts defeated the Indians 2-1.
It was a memorable game for the Queen, an experienced player who has played over 250 international matches.
India will face Belgium in their second game of the Pro League on June 12.