India beat Belgium 3-2 on penalty shootout, through to semis of Hockey World League Final 2017

Goalkeeper Akash Chikte put up a valiant effort during the penalty shootouts. (Source: PTI)

India beat Belgium 3-2 on penalty shootout to go through to the semi-final of the Hockey World League final 2017. The match itself ended 3-3 in Bhubaneshwar and India managed to hold their own in the penalty shootout to win. It was a vastly improved performance from India, who lost two and drew one in the group stage. Belgium, on the other hand had won their three matches and had scored 11 goals in the run up to the quarter final.

Akash Chikte was the hero of the shootouts for India. He blocked out Belgium’s first attempt but India also scored their subsequent attempt. India’s first goal in the shootout came when Lalit Upadhyay scored first. Rupinder Pal Singh then scored but Belgium went for the referral. The decision stood and India doubled the lead. Harmanpreet scored the third and Chikte saved to take India to the semi-final.

It was an unliklely win for India. The two teams had contrasting forms in the group stage. While India drew one and lost two of their matches, Belgium won all three and scored 11 goals. SV Sunil had a chance to put India in the lead early in the first quarter off two brilliant crosses from Gurjant. The first goal, though came in the second quarter and the second came just minutes later. But Belgium pulled one back and all three goals went between the 30th and 40th minute. Rupinder Pal Singh then scored the third but Belgium nipped one back.

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