Indian Women’s Hockey Team Play Out 2-2 Draw against Belgium.
The Indian women’s hockey team held on for a 2-2 draw against the Belgium junior men’s team in a closely fought match.
Antwerp: The Indian women’s hockey team held on for a 2-2 draw against the Belgium junior men’s team in a closely fought match.
India, led by captain Rani Rampal, began the match on a bright note by earning a penalty corner within 40 seconds of the start, but could not convert it. Two minutes later, another penalty corner was saved by the Belgian goalkeeper.
However, it was the young Belgium team that got three PCs in a span of six minutes, but goalkeeper Savita did well to keep the home side from taking an early lead. Forward Vandana Katariya created a beautiful chance for India inside the striking circle but failed to score as the first quarter ended goalless.
The second quarter saw both sides taking a more direct approach with Belgium enjoying more possession. The persistance paid off for the hosts, as they took the lead through Stan Branicki on the 19th minute.
India soon earned another penalty corner but their effort was thwarted by the Junior World Cup finalists’ goalkeeper which meant Belgium led by a goal at half time.
The third quarter started on a bright note for India as Nikki Pradhan levelled the scores on 36th minute. India dominated the third quarter as midfielder Neha Goyal came close to scoring but was denied by another brilliant save by Belgium’s goalkeeper.
However, the home team took the lead again in the 43rd minute when Matthieu de Laet completed a wonderful field goal.
The Belgium junior men’s team started the fourth quarter on the front foot as Indian goalkeeper Rajani Etimarpu had to make a reflex save. The Indian team fought back in the dying stages as Vandana Katariya (54th minute) scored a second equaliser with a few minutes left before the hooter.
However, Belgium were awarded a PC which was well saved by Rajani and cleared by defender Sunita Lakra. The home team forced Rajani into making yet another impressive save in the dying minutes as the Indian defence held on for a well-deserved 2-2 draw.
India will play Ladies Den Bosch in their third match of the Europe Tour on September 14.