Host India barged into the semi-finals by winning over Belgium by 3-2 in the sudden death round, as the quarterfinal match ended in 3-3 draw in stipulated time in the Odisha Hockey World League Final at Kalinga Stadium here today. The match went to penalty shoot-outs after both teams were tied 3-3 at full time.
On the other hand, Belgium topped Pool-A with wins in all the 3 matches.
On a chilly night here, the Indian hockey team set the temperatures soaring with a thrilling win against Belgium, ranked world No.3, in the quarterfinals of the Hockey World League Final. Harmanpreet scored the third and Chikte saved to take India to the semi-final.
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In the penalty shootout, both missed three chances each and finished at 2-2. "Hopefully, we will now play with more energy and win the semi-final". Rupinder Pal Singh dragged the ball behind him and into the path of Harmanpreet, who scored easily. In the second quarter Gurjant Singh pushed the ball into the D area, though Sunil's sliding stick guided the ball outside of the goal post. Rupinder converted from a penalty corner.
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.
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). It drew with world champions Australia, before losing to England and Germany. But the Belgians fought back to score twice either side of the third quarter break; penalty corners off the stick of Loick Luypaert taking his goal tally to an wonderful eight in four matches.
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