India's amazing dragflick expert Harmanpreet Singh scored two goals to help his team script a 3-2 victory over Belgium in a battle of nerves at the Three Nations Invitational Tournament at Dusseldorf on Monday.
Earlier in the tournament, India had lost 1-2 to Belgiumin their first match and drew 2-2 with Germany in their second game. It was goals by Harmanpreet Singh (34', 38') and forward Ramandeep Singh (49') that helped India win.
After losing their previous game 1-2 to Germany on Sunday, Belgium made a strong start against India by playing an attacking game right from the word go.
The 2016 Rio Olympics silver medallists showed precisionand were dominant with skill and ball possession. Though India caught them on the wrong foot early on by earning back-to-back PCs, they could not convert the chances.
Belgium, however, came up with a brilliant field goal, thanks to Amaury Keusters, to take a 1-0 lead in the 13th minute and put India under pressure.
India played cautiously in the second quarter, not allowing Belgian attackers easy penetration inside the striking circle. Meanwhile, India won two PCs in the 23rd and24th minute but Harmanpreet's well-struck flick was blocked by Belgian defenders.
The second quarter went goalless. Going into the second half, India continued to trail but their breakthrough came in the 34th minute when they bagged their fifth PC of the match.
This time Harmanpreet was impeccable with his dragflick, making sure he converted togive India the equaliser. His exploits didn't stop at that. In the 38th minute, heconverted another goal through a tactfully-earned PC to helpIndia claim a 2-1 lead over Belgium.
Though Belgium earned a PC in the 40th minute, India goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya did wellto come up with an impressive save and kept the lead.
There was a lot of action in this quarter with both teamstrading PCs. Belgium found success in the 45th minute throughTanguy Cosyns brilliantly struck flick. This was Belgium's fourth PC of the match.
With the score reading 2-2, it all came down to the final quarter where both teams pushed hard to seal the match in their favour. India held their nerve with a strong fight back,constantly attacking the Belgian defence and make space in the defence.
India forward Ramandeep Singh was the one to find thebreakthrough with good assist by his compatriots in the 49thminute. His successful shot on goal helped India regain the leadwith the score reading 3-2.
The Indian defenders were commendable in their effort to keep India in the lead andeventually win the match. India are set to play Germany on Tuesday.
With PTI inputs