Kazan, Apr 22 (UNI) India squandered chances galore and their hopes of making it to the Beijing Olympics virtually ended as they suffered their second successive defeat, going down to lowly Belgium 2-3 in the womens' Olympic Hockey Qualifiers here today.
India, ranked 12th in the World, desperately needed a win against Belgium, ranked 23rd, but that was not to be. It was again a case of missed chances, as despite dominating the 70-minute proceedings, they failed to convert the opportunities that came their way.
In fact, the Indians lost the match they had no business to lose. They outplayed their rivals and should have won by a margin of four goals but they ended up as losers.
At half time India led 2-1 India had earlier lost to Netherland Antilles 1-2. They have so far won only one match, that against Russia (3-1) on the oening day.
India were off to a disastrous start, conceeding a goal in the very first minute when Charlotte de Vos caught the defence unawares and easily beat the goalkeeper to put Belgium in the lead (1-0).
The goal rattled India who went flat out for the equaliser. They forced three penlty corners in quick succession and it was in the 13th minute when Surinder Kaur converted the third penalty corner to draw parity(1-1).
Just before this eualiser, India had a great chance to score but Asunta Lakra and Jasjeet Kaur muffed the chance. Jasjeet took a shot on top of the circle but goal keeper Elizabeth Achten made a superb save.
Three minutes later, India made another breakaway attack and this time in-form Ritu Rani swept the ball home to give her side a 2-1 lead.
the Belgium girls looked tired but the Indians failed to add to their goal tally. They kept on squandering the chances and paid dearly for that.
India had a slow first few minutes but were on fire for the rest of the match fully controlling the procedings and creating chances by the minute.
There was no let up in India's domination but again their forwards turned out to be poor markswomen, missing easy chances.
However, against the run of play, Belgium stunned India when they equalised through Astrid Vervaet who emerged out of nowhere to send the ball home to make it 2-2. This happened in the 46th minute.
Five minutes later, India had a great chance to surge ahead, Surinder Kaur made a quick dash into the circle and hammered the ball towards the goal but the ball missed the target by a whisker.
Two more attacks - one each by Jasjeet and Pritam were foiled by the goalkeeper and then another penalty corner went abegging.
And suddenly, once again against the tide of the game, Belgium scored to take the lead in the 58th minute which turned out to be the winner. An attack led to a shot on goal wich was warded off by the goalkeeper but on the rebound Gaelle Falcke pushed it across for the reverse stick shot, then smashed it into an open goal (3-2).
After that, the Indians did every thing to restore parity but failed as Belgium beefed up their defence and foiled all the atacks.
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