The Indian women’s hockey team suffered a 1-2 defeat against hosts Belgium in their first match in the FIH Pro Hockey League 2021/22 at Sportcentrum Wilrijkse Plein, here on Saturday.
Captain Barbara Nelen (3) and Omri Balingian (35′) were the two goals for Belgium, while Lal Reimsyamy (48′) scored the only goal for India.
The attacking start of the match saw the two teams create chances in the first minutes, but it was Belgium that improved as they advanced through Captain Nelen Barbara in the third minute.
The hosts increased the pressure on India with their organized attack and took two corner kicks in the fifth and seventh sessions respectively, but the Indian defense stood tall to prevent them from scoring the second goal. Minutes later, India got their first penalty in the match, but Rani’s attempt went wide, thus missing the equalizer in the first quarter.
Late with a goal, India began putting pressure on the Belgian defense and midfield. They even created a chance in the opening minutes, but Neha’s pass to Salima Titi inside the circle went too far. The owners of the land responded with a quick counter-attack that helped them win successive penalty shootouts, but they again missed their chances.
With Belgium slightly in control of possession, they tried to create chances, but the Indian defense fought hard against whatever the Belgian threw at them and made sure no more goals were scored at the end of the first half.
Belgium started the third quarter strong and got a corner kick in the 32nd minute of the match, but its attempt went far from the goal post. In the 35th minute, Andrei Balingen scored to give the hosts a 2-0 lead. The Indian defense was stunned when Belgium quickly took the long corner and a pass inside the circle gets the finishing touch from Balingian.
After making more breakthroughs inside the Indian circuit, Belgium got another computer but failed to convert it because their attempt hit the foot of the Belgian attacker, thus India got the blow.
Not giving up easily, the Indian team launched an impromptu attack that saw them seize one of their two chances at the start of the last quarter. After Ishka Chaudhry’s shot on goal, it was the young striker of Al Reemsiame who scored the goal for India in the 48th minute.
She won the ball in the attacking quarter and quietly shot it into the net. India kept their constant pressure on Belgium in their attempt to score the equalizer in the final minutes of the match, but the hosts kept the Indians in stalemate and secured a 2-1 victory.
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