India miss out on chance to play Champions Trophy yet again after Belgian Tom Boon's last-minute goal sinks coach Nobbs' men 4-3 in final
A last minute goal saw India lose 3-4 to Belgium in an exhilarating final of the Champions Challenge hockey tournament here yesterday. India were comfortably sitting on a 3-1 cushion in the second half but a resilient Belgium bounced back in the match.
Dejected: India hockey ace Sardara Singh. Pic/Getty Images
Tom Boon scored the winner and in the process became the joint top scorer of the tournament along with Justin Reid Ross of South Africa with eight goals. For India, VR Raghunath (23rd minute), Sandeep Singh (41st) and Shivender Singh (54th) were on target. Belgium, who defeated Argentina in a tense shoot-out for a place in the final, responded through Jerome Dekeyser's brace (44th, 57th) and Gauthier Boccard's strike (55th)before Boon (70th) separated the two teams.
Sandeep finished with seven goals, all through penalty corners, and won the Player of the Tournament award. But it was hardly a consolation for India as their propensity to concede last minute goals came back to haunt them.
Belgium, who have already made it to the London Olympics, also qualified for next December's Champions Trophy in Australia. "It is a cherry on the cake," said ecstatic Belgian player Xavier Reckinger. India wasted an opportunity to play in the elite Champions Trophy after 2005.