Team India's weakness of leaking penalty corners proves costly as Men in Blue go down 1-2 to Belgium to suffer their first defeat in Champions Trophy
London: India's weakness of allowing too many penalty corners combined with an off-day for 'keeper PR Sreejesh meant the end of an unbeaten run for them in the FIH Hero Champions Trophy yesterday.
Belgium's Thomas Briels (left) tries to evade a tackle from India's SV Sunil during the Champions Trophy tie in London yesterday. Pic/Getty Images
India, who had a draw and a win in their previous two games, lost 1-2 as Belgium, following a draw and a loss, picked up pieces and brought themselves right back into the tournament at the Lee Valley Hockey Centre.
Earlier, Australia notched up their second win (4-3, Germany) to stay top with seven points, three clear of three teams – Britain, India and Belgium.
Playing in a slight drizzle in the first quarter, India seemed to have ceded early advantage to Belgium, who had more attempts and more penalty corners. Belgium made the Indian defence work hard very early in the game with a penalty corner within half a minute of the start. Indian continued to leak penalty corners, a weakness that is becoming a recurrent theme. Ultimately Alexander Hendrickx made it count for his team with a conversion, which slipped in off Sreejesh's left pad.
That meant a 1-0 lead for Belgium. But before the quarter was done, a save from goalie Vincent Vanasch fell in Devinder Walmiki's, and he made it 1-1. Belgium an attacking mode and were rewarded when Jerome Truyens managed to slip one past P Sreejesh for 2-1.