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Sandeep Singh gives India win over Belgium

Source: PTI
August 06, 2009 18:43 IST
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Captain Sandeep Singh starred with two goals as India beat Belgium 4-3 in the second hockey Test to level the three-match series in Braxgata, Belgium, on the second leg of their ongoing European tour.

Sandeep sounded the board in 32nd and 64th minute while Hari Prasad (8th) and Rajpal Singh (55th) accounted for India's other goals.

Belgium scored through Tom Boon (4th minute), Cedric Charlier (11th) and Jeff Thys (18th).

India lost the first encounter 3-6.

India brought back goalkeeper Adrian D'souza, Sardar Singh, Rajpal, Gurvinder Chandi and Bharat Chhikara to the starting line-up on Wednesday, while Sandeep took the field after recovering from flu.

The match began on an aggressive note as India tried to reak the ice in the second minute, but Chandi's attempt was added away by Belgium custodian Vincent.

Belgium earned their first penalty-orner two minutes ater when Sardar Singh,playing as the freeman, committed a defensive error.

The resultant flick struck V S Vinaya leading to a penalty-stroke which was converted by Boon to give Belgium the lead in fourth minute.

India fought back but couple of attempts by S V Sunil and Shivendra Singh were off the target.

However, Hari Prasad found the mark in eighth minute to level the score.

Belgium were back on their toes and sparkled with off-the-ball running and overlaps. Their efforts soon paid dividends as a faulty clearance by Sandeep was intercepted by Charlier, who beat D'souza from the top of the circle and give Belgium the lead again in 11th minute.

The tally was further increased after seven minutes when Jeff Thys got past both Vikram Pillay and Gurbaj Singh and beat D'Souza low to his right.

India regrouped and initiated onslaughts to reduce the margin. However, penetrations from Sunil and Rajpal Singh bore no fruit as Belgium captain Xavier Reckinger and Vincent stood tall.

However, India scored their second goal in the 32nd minute when Sandeep sank a penalty-corner to the right of Vincent. Bharat Chhikara missed an open chance immediately after the break when he failed to latch to a Rajpal cross.

India, trailing 2-3 during the breather, again lost an opportunity midway in the second half when Chandi missed after a Sunil set-up, but Rajpal Singh made amends as he flicked past Vincent from a penalty-corner in the 55th minute.

India's match-winner came from their last penalty-corner after Chandi was fouled in the 64th minute. Sandeep fired home with aplomb to clinch victory.

The third and final Test will be played at the same venue on Friday.

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