India have defeated Belgium in the much-anticipated quarter-final game between the sides at Junior Hockey World Cup 2021. The match which was played at Kalinga Stadium, Bhuvneshwar saw the hosts scoring in the second quarter and then maintaining the lead throughout the game.
The match started with Belgium dominating the proceedings. India, meanwhile, maintained they didn’t concede any goal despite the opposition enjoying a fair bit of ball possession that too in India’s half.
In the final minute of the first quarter, Araijeet Singh Hundal got a good opportunity in Belgium’s box. However, the Indian star, who entered the game with 5 goals to his credit, failed to take advantage as he couldn’t connect his hockey stick with the ball and the stick went sailing outside the field of play. Soon after, in the second quarter, Belgium too missed some close chances, thanks to some good defending from India.
India improved their passes and all that helped them get the first penalty corner of the game in the 20th minute. Living up to the expectations, the Men in Blue converted the opportunity into a goal as Shardanand Tiwari scored through a terrific drag flick. In the 26th minute, Belgium also got a penalty corner but failed to capitalise it as their hit went off the target. Meanwhile, goalkeeper Pawan did some amazing saves to make sure India kept their lead intact and end the first half 1-0.
At the resumption of the match, the pressure was all over the Belgium players and they did a decent job to trouble India, however, none of the actions could give a real threat to the hosts. In return, Vivek Sagar Prasad’s men too tried to control the game and entered the opposition’s box quite a few times but credit to the Belgium defence that did a brilliant job to block the road.
However, the pressure was still visible on the Belgium players and their classic passes soon started getting loose. The overall outcome saw India holding on to the scoreline of 1-0 even after the third quarter.
The fourth and final quarter saw a much more determined Belgium side, however, the lack of execution in the game saw their chances go begging. Meanwhile, the Indian defence was equally solid. However, Belgium still found a way to take a strike somehow in India’s D-box in the 50th minute but Pawan’s athleticism denied them an equalizer. One minute later, the side also got a penalty corner but an impressive Indian defence was upfront to pour water on Belgium’s effort. The guests’ final moment to score an equaliser came in the 58th minute but again superb goalkeeping from Pawan saved India.
According to the latest update, India face Germany in the semi-final of the event on December 3. However, the schedule of the game is confirmed to be played at 7:30 PM IST.