India roar to hold Red Lions in Men's Hockey World Cup -
India roar to hold Red Lions in Men's Hockey World Cup
Posted 03 Dec 2018 02:41 PM

The Indian hockey team rallied from a sluggish first half to hold higher-ranked Belgium 2-2 in a thrilling encounter and remain atop Pool C of the Hockey Men's World Cup in Bhubaneswar.
After a blazing start by the Red Lions, the boys in blue roared back after the change of ends to turn a 0-1 deficit into a 2-1 lead before the world No. 3 Belgians drew parity with four minutes left on the clock.

The draw, however, put the hosts in a good position to qualify directly to the quarterfinals without having to go through the grind of the cross-over stage. India and Belgium are both on four points after two outings but the former tops the table with a better goal difference of +5 as opposed to Belgium's +1.

It means that a decent performance in the final league encounter against lower-ranked Canada on Saturday will put India straight to the last eight stage.

Against Belgium, India fought back through goals by Harmanpreet Singh (39th) and Simranjeet Singh (47th) to take the lead. However, the hosts' defence faltered in the final minutes and conceded a late goal when Simon Gougnard scored in the 56th minute to draw level.

"We were not surprised in the first quarter with Belgium's full press. We had discussed about it. They knew as the match progresses, India will be dangerous. My boys utilised the crowd's energy," India coach Harendra Singh said after the match.

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