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Hockey World Cup: India concede last-minute winner to Belgium, go down 2-3

Sunday, 1 June 2014 - 7:05pm IST | Place: The Hague (Netherlands) | Agency: PTI

India's shaky defence conceded a goal 15 seconds from the hooter to go down 2-3 against Belgium in their opening game of the Hockey World Cup at the Kyocera Stadium, at The Hague on Saturday.

The Indian defenders allowed space inside the circle to the Belgians, who were frustrated and under pressure after being tied 2-2 going into the final minute of play.

The last-gasp attempt by Belgium saw the ball being switched around to leave the Indians confused and John-John Dohmen managed to push ball over the goal-line in a scrimmage.

The last-minute goal undid India's good show in the second session when they rallied from a one-goal deficit to lead 2-1 to the surprise of the crowd comprising overwhelmingly of Belgium supporters. Belgium took the initial lead in the 34th minute through Florent van Aubel before India scored two field goals through Mandeep Singh (45th minute) and Akashdeep Singh (50th).

Belgium equalised on a set-piece penalty corner conversion Simon Gougnard in the 56th minute and India created a openings at the other end before Dohmen got the final-minute winner. Belgium dominated the game from the beginning, pushing Indian players to fall back into their half to strengthen the defense. The Indian defence did well to deny the rival strikers many shots at the goal. PR Sreejesh played an outstanding game under the bar and blocked two goalwards shots before being beaten by a deflection just one minute before half-time.

Arthur van Doren's diagonal ball into the circle was deflected by van Aubel into the right corner of the Indian goal past the outstretched arm of the custodian. The Indian team felt the ball had gone off van Doren's foot and sought a video review, but the goal was upheld after being reviewed twice and Belgium went into the second half was a 1-0 lead.

The Indians failed to mount many raids as they seemed to effortlessly give the ball away after defending stoutly, which enabled the Belgians to keep mounting regular attacks.




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