Hockey

India vs Belgium | Mandeep, Akashdeep star in India’s win

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Mandeep and Akashdeep sounded the board in the 39th and 54th minutes respectively to seal the match for India.

Mandeep Singh and Akashdeep Singh scored in the second half to guide the Indian men’s hockey team to a superb 2-0 win over Belgium in the opening game of the three-match series here on Thursday.

Mandeep and Akashdeep sounded the board in the 39th and 54th minutes respectively to seal the match for India.

In a gritty first quarter, India took the initiative early, forcing Loic van Doren into a save from the first penalty corner of the game.

Smart save

Soon it was India’s turn to defend and Krishan Pathak, who started the game in the goal was up to the task, pulling off a smart save off a Belgium penalty corner as the teams went into the break locked in a stalemate.

India rushed off the blocks in the second quarter and had a succession of penalty corners within the first minute. The Belgium defence was at hand denying it an opener.

Despite controlling possession for a major time, India found it difficult to break the deadlock. The teams went into half-time without troubling the scorers.

India kept the tempo up in the third period and forced van Doren into multiple saves. All the circle entries and creative play finally found its reward in the 39th minute as Mandeep scored to put India ahead.

Sreejesh shines

Belgium was forced to attack in the final quarter and almost immediately tested Sreejesh in the goal. He was up to the task pulling off a succession of saves to keep India’s lead intact.

India capitalised on Belgium’s attacking necessity to earn a pair of penalty corners. van Doren’s heroics prevented a second. In the 54th minute, Akashdeep finished off a slick move to make it 2-0 for India.

It was a lead India held on to go up 1-0 in the series. The second game will be played on Saturday.

The result: India 2 (Mandeep Singh 39, Akashdeep Singh 54) bt Beglium 0.

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 7:26:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/hockey/india-vs-belgium-mandeep-akashdeep-star-in-indias-win/article29522270.ece

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