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FIH Pro League: Olympic champion Belgium could not cross the ‘wall’ of Indian hockey, win in penalty shootout

Antwerp: Goalkeeper PR Sreejesh saved a penalty stroke in a thrilling penalty shootout after saving several goals within the stipulated time. With its help, the Indian men’s hockey team defeated Olympic champions Belgium 5-4 in the first match of the FIH Pro League. With only eight minutes of play left, the Indian team was trailing 1-3. But India tied the score at 3-3 and dragged the match into a shootout.

Sreejesh saved a shot from Alexander Hendricks, who took the third penalty. The shootout was tied at 4-4. After this, Akashdeep made the score 5-4 by scoring. Sreejesh saved many goals during the match but two goals saved in the last quarter proved to be very important. No goal was scored in the first quarter in which Sreejesh saved two shots.

Shamsher Singh scored in the 18th minute for India at the start of the second quarter. Belgium equalized three minutes later on a goal from Cédric Charlier. In the third quarter, Simon Gonnard gave Belgium the lead in the 36th minute. Sreejesh saved two more shots in the meantime but De Kerpel scored a penalty corner to take the lead 3-1.

Manpreet Singh gave India a penalty corner which Harmanpreet Singh converted into a goal. On the other hand, Jarmanpreet scored the third goal when India used a variation on the penalty corner to dodge Belgium.

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