28 January, Hamilton
India suffered a 0-3 loss via penalty shootout to Belgium after a 4-4 draw in regulation time in the final of the second leg of the Four Nations Invitational Hockey Tournament here on Sunday.
Felix Denayer, Sbastien Dockier and Arthur van Doren scored for Belgium in the shootout while Tanguy Cosyns (41st minute), Cdric Charlier (43rd), Amaury Keusters (51st) and Felix Denayer (56th) scored during regulation time.
For India, Ramandeep Singh (29th, 53rd), Nilakanta Sharma (42nd) and Mandeep Singh (49th) were the goal scorers in regulation time at the Gallagher Hockey Stadium.
Earlier, Japan beat hosts New Zealand 4-1 in the shootout to win the bronze medal after holding the Black Sticks 1-1 in regulation time.
The final between India and Belgium was yet another goal-fest with both teams testing each other in a high-voltage encounter. It was a steady start for India as they were made to work hard to keep the ball.
The Belgian attack kept Indian goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh busy through the first quarter with as many as three penalty corners including a penalty stroke.
The first penalty corner in the 8th minute was kept away by Sreejesh, who lunged to his right to save. Sreejesh kept alive India by saving Lock Luypaert’ penalty stroke.
India came to their own as they won two back-to-back penalty corner at the start of the second quarter but couldn’t make much of them. But they grabbed a 1-0 lead a minute before the half-time when clever work by Mandeep Singh set up Ramandeep to push the ball in.
The action intensified in the third quarter with Belgium winning an equaliaer in the 41st minute through Cosyns’s well-executed penalty corner.
Moments later, India regained the lead after Nilakanta was quick to pick up a beautiful assist from Mandeep to strike the ball past Vincent Vanasch into the Belgium goal-post.
Belgium levelled 2-2 the following minute when Charlier’s reverse hit breached Sreejesh defence.
In the final quarter, India won back their lead twice (3-2, 4-3) when Mandeep scored in the 49th minute followed by a sensational goal by Ramandeep in the 53rd.
But Belgium stayed in the hunt snatching India’s lead through Keusters (51st) and Denayer (56th) to ensure the match went into penalty shootout.
India had lost to Belgium in the final of the first leg in Tauranga too.