Bhubaneswar: Indian Hockey team, on Wednesday, at the Hockey World League (HWL) Final tournament, in Bhubaneswar, beat Belgium 3-2 in a dramatic penalty shoot-out to enter semifinals.
Hosts India produced a spirited performance to stun Olympic silver medalist Belgium in the shoot-out after both the teams were locked at 3-3 at the end of regulation time.
It was a great exhibition of attacking hockey from both the sides as the regulation time yielded as many as six goals, three each from either side.
In the topsy-turvy shootout, Lalit Upadhyay, Rupinder Pal Singh and Harmanpreet scored from India. And for Belgium, Arthur van Doren and Florent van Aubel converted their shootout into goal.
While Gurjant Singh (31st minute), Harmanpreet Singh (35th) and Rupinderpal Singh (46th) were the goal scorers for India, Belgium’s goals came from the sticks of Loick Luypaert (39th, 46th) and Amaury Keusters (53rd).
But Chikte, who gave his place to young Suraj Karkera in the match and was brought into action in the 47th minute, stood up to his coach’s faith and produced four brilliant saves in the shoot-out that went to sudden death to seal the famous win for India.
Unlike their last two matches, the Indians made a bright start to the game and had a wonderful chance to take the lead in the opening minute.
But an unmarked SV Sunil was guilty of wasting the golden opportunity on the far post as he deflected wide a measured reverse stick cross from Gurjant Singh.
The hosts kept up the pressure and secured their first penalty corner in the fifth minute but Harmanpreet Singh’s attempt was easily dealt by Belgium goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch.
The Belgian, who were unbeaten in the pool stage, had two great chances in the form of two penalty corners at the far end of the match to score the winner but the Indians defended well to take the game into shoot-out.