Free Press Journal

India stuns Belgium, into semis

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Defending champions Australia rout Spain to enter last four.

Bhubaneswar : Goalkeeper Akash Chikte put up a superlative show as India edged past Belgium 3-2 via penalty shootout to enter the semi-finals of the FIH Hockey World League (HWL) Final here on Wednesday.

Chikte blocked four Belgian attackers during the shootout, while Lalit Upadhyay, Rupinder Pal Singh and Harmanpreet Singh were on the mark for India.


Gurjant Singh (31st minute), Harmanpreet (34th) and Rupinder (46th) scored in the regulation time for India.

Loick Luypaert (38th and 46th) converted two penalty corners to lead the Belgian fightback before Cedric Charlier (52nd) scored the equaliser after Rupinder’s goal.

Earlier, defending champions Australia lived upto their billing, notching up a 4-1 win over lowly Spain to storm into the semi-final.

World no. 2 Australia exhibited their masterclass in penalty corners as Blake Govers converted two set pieces in the 50th minute to hand his side the convincing win in the first quarter-final of the eight-nation tournament at the Kalinga Stadium.

After a slow start to the tournament, the Kookaburras hit their prime form when it mattered and converted three penalty corners in a span of three minutes to throw Spain out of the contest after both the teams were locked 1-1 at half time.

The Aussies were off to a quick start with Dylan Wotherspoon creating early trouble for the Spanish defence and on at least two occasions, he was denied by rival goalkeeper Quico Cortes.

Spain too were not to be left behind as in the seventh minute, Marc Serrahima had an open chance, but he failed to tackle the ball in-front of an open goal.

But in the 20th minute Spain stunned Australia when Marc Garcia shot the ball home from the left flank to hand his side the lead. Surprised by the goal, the Kookaburras, third place finisher at the Hockey World League Semi-Final at Johannesburg this year, started pressing hard.

After wasting their first penalty corner in the 23rd minute, Jeremy Hayward converted the second one as Australia drew parity in the 32nd minute.

Thereafter, Australia simply ran away with the game as the three-time world champions pumped in as many as three goals, including two in one minute itself.

Aaron Kleinschmidt converted Australia’s third penalty corner before Govers joined the party. Spain earned a penalty corner in the dying minute of the match, but Australian custodian Tristan Clemons was upto the task.