FIH Pro League: Indian women battle against Belgium in first draw | Hockey News



ANTWERP (Belgium): A rusty-looking Indian women’s hockey team gave away the ball fairly easily a few times before battling in the fourth quarter, but eventually lost 1-2 to Belgium in their FIH debut Two-legged Pro League tie here on Saturday.
An attacking start saw both sides create chances in the opening minutes, but it was Belgium who improved as they took the lead through captain Nelen Barbara in the third minute.
The hosts put pressure on India with their structured attack and earned two penalty corners in the 5th and 7th respectively, but the Indian defense held firm to deny them the second goal.
A few minutes later, India were awarded their first penalty corner of the match, but Rani’s effort went off target, missing the equalizer in the first quarter.

Trailing by one goal, India began to put pressure on the Belgian defense and midfield. They even created an opportunity in the opening minutes, but Neha’s pass to Salima Tete inside the circle went wide.
The home side responded with a quick counter-attack which helped them win back-to-back penalty corners but again failed to convert their chances.
With Belgium slightly dominating possession they tried to create chances but the Indian defense fought back against everything the hosts threw at them and ensured no further goals were scored at the end of the game. the first half.
Belgium started the third quarter aggressively and earned a penalty corner in the 32nd minute, but their attempt went wide of the goal post. In the 35th minute, André Ballenghien found the back of the net to give the hosts a 2-0 lead.
The Indian defense were caught off guard as Belgium swiftly took the long corner and a pass inside the circle gave Ballenghien the finishing touch.
After making some inroads inside the Indian circle, Belgium earned another penalty corner but failed to convert it as their attempt hit the Belgian forward’s foot.
Not giving up easily, India launched an improvised attack which saw them convert one of their two chances early in the final quarter.
After Ishka Choudhary’s shot on target, it was young striker Lalremsiami who saved a goal for India in the 48th minute. She won the ball in the offensive quarter and calmly drove it home.
India continued to put constant pressure on Belgium in their bid to equalize in the closing stages of the game, but the home side held the Indians at bay and sealed a 2-1 win.
It was a memorable match for veteran player Rani who completed 250 international caps.
India faced Belgium in their second Pro League game on June 12.


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