HWL 2017: India knock-out Belgium to reach semis


Bhubaneswar: Hosts India stunned Belgium in the penalty shoot-out to secure a semi-final berth in the Hockey World League Final at Kalinga Stadium on Wednesday.

India, who had finished at the bottom of Pool B, looked a fresh team as they went on in attacking spree right from the first quarter.

The lively SV Sunil twice came close to opening the scoring for India in the first half, with the Red Lions having a goal ruled out by the video umpire due to a back stick.

Gurjant Singh scored the first one for India, off a rebound shot. The lead was doubled four minutes through a penalty corner by Harmanpreet Singh.

The Belgians, regained composure and pulled both the goals back through penalty corners by Loick Luypaert.

India hit back almost immediately when Rupinder Pal Singh scored a penalty corner, but a deflected goal from Belgium’s Amaury Keusters took the score to 3-3 and forced the match into the most entertaining and dramatic of shoot-outs.

India lead the shoot-out 2-0 after three efforts each, but Belgium forced sudden-death by scoring both of their two remaining efforts while India failed to convert. Harmanpreet Singh scored what proved to be the winner while Arthur van Doren was unable to beat India shot-stopper Akash Chikte.

India will either play England or Argentina in the semis.

In the first quarter-final match, Australia beat Spain 4-1 to reserve their quarter-final berth. The Aussies will face either Germany or Netherlands in the semis.

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