India beat Belgium to keep afloat in Azlan Shah

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{image-indian hockey_12052008.jpg}Ipoh, Malaysia, May 12: Spearheaded by dragflicker Sandeep Singh, who scored two goals, India recorded its second successive win as they overpowered Belgium 6-4 to keep themselves in the reckoning of the 17th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament here today.

For India, who led 5-1 in the first half, the goal scorers were Sandeep Singh, Shivendra Singh, Diwakar Ram and SV Sunil while Alexandre de Sadeleer, Jerome Trueyns, Thomas Briels and Charles Vandewgheles scored for the losers The Indians opened their scoring midway through the first half when Shivendra Singh (11th) deflected a penalty corner in the net.

The 19-year-old dragflicker Diwakar Ram (23rd) grabbed his third goal of the tournament as he fired in a penalty corner to double the lead.

Belgium struck back in the very next minute as Alexandre de Sadeleer (24th) hit home a penalty corner to reduce the deficit.

The Indians, however, continued their attack and kept the pressure alive. Their efforts bore fruit when Sandeep Singh (29th) smashed in a powerful dragflick for his first goal of the match.

SV Sunil (31st) then produced a brilliant goal. The young forward received the ball on the top of the circle, dribbled past a defender and wrong footed the goalkeeper as the crowd went into raptures.

India were awarded their fourth penalty corner in the dying stages of the first half. Sandeep Singh smashed home a powerful hit as India went into the break with a comfortable 5-1 lead.

Belgium looked a completely transformed side in the second half as it went to overhaul India's lead.

They reduced the margin in the 42nd minute through a field goal by Thomas Briels.

A couple of minutes later, Charles Vandewgheles sank another goal as Belgium nearly caught up with the Indians.

However, Shivendra Singh tapped in a pass from SV Sunil in the 68th minute as India emerged deserving winners.

After two back-to-back losses against New Zealand and Argentina, India bounced back in the tournament as they beat Canada 3-1 yesterday and registered another victory today.


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