Thrilling Encounters at FIH Hockey Pro League

After a setback, the Indian men's team shows a strong recovery against Belgium in the FIH Hockey Pro League, while the GB women's team manages to hold their ground against China

(Hockey News) India’s men’s hockey team successfully turned the tables on Belgium in their FIH Hockey Pro League clash in London, despite the return of several established stars for the Olympic champions. After suffering defeat at the hands of Belgium in the previous weekend, the Indian team showcased a remarkable performance, securing a commanding 5-1 victory this time around. Meanwhile, China’s women’s team delivered a thrilling finale in their match against Great Britain, scoring two goals in the last 11 minutes. However, their efforts fell short as the home side managed to hold on for a 4-3 win.

In the men’s match, India wasted no time in taking the lead, finding the back of the net within 90 seconds. Vivek Prasad unleashed a powerful strike from the top of the circle, beating Belgian goalkeeper Loic van Doren. The Indian team extended their lead in the second quarter when Harmanpreet Singh, the all-time leading goal scorer in the FIH Pro League, converted a penalty corner with a drag-flick into the bottom left corner. Before halftime, Mandeep Singh’s attacking run along the baseline resulted in Amit Rohidas deflecting his pass into the goal off van Doren. India continued their dominance with another penalty corner, as Harmanpreet capitalized on a rebound after Amit’s initial drag hit Belgian defender Victor Wegnez on the feet.

The Belgians fought back in the stronger second half, finally breaking through India’s defense at the start of the final period, with William Ghislain finding the net. However, India had the last word as Dilpreet Singh drove the ball between the goalkeeper’s legs, restoring their four-goal lead and securing coach Craig Fulton’s first victory against his former team. Manpreet Singh was named the player of the match, expressing his delight at the team’s strong performance and goal-scoring prowess.

In the women’s match, like their male counterparts, the Great Britain team took an early lead. A well-executed penalty corner saw Giselle Ansley passing to Lily Owsley, who slotted the ball into the net for a 1-0 advantage. Within the first four minutes, GB doubled their lead as Isabelle Petter set up Hannah Martin to strike the ball into the goal. China responded by scoring from a penalty corner, with Gu Bingfeng finding the bottom right corner and becoming the tournament’s top goal scorer with seven goals. GB added another goal before halftime when Sarah Jones found Sarah Robertson at the back post.

In the third quarter, GB earned another penalty corner, and Ansley’s shot was deflected into the goal by Martin. Unfortunately, Chinese goalkeeper Ye Jiao sustained a knee injury while attempting to save the shot and had to leave the field on a wheelchair. Despite the setback, China regrouped and mounted a comeback with Lee Hong’s brilliant run along the goal line, resulting in Zhang Zindan swatting the ball into the net to reduce the deficit. Less than a minute later, Zou Meirong’s deflection off a penalty corner struck GB defender Ansley’s foot and found its way into the goal, further closing the gap. The final period was filled with excitement as China pushed for an equalizer, but GB managed to hold on for a 4-3 victory.

Giselle Ansley was named player of the match and said: “That was a good game from everyone today, intense at the end but I’m really pleased that we could still hold it out and win that game… I know we conceded three but to score four goals, we’re chuffed with that.”

Result: Men’s Match 40

India 5-1 Belgium

Player of the Game: Manpreet Singh (IND)

Umpires: Sean Rapaport (RSA), Wanri Venter (RSA), Hong-Zhen Lim (SGP-video)

Result: Women’s Match 40

Great Britain 4-3 China

Player of the Game: Giselle Ansley (GBR)

Also Read: India maul Uzbekistan 22-0 in opening women’s junior Asia Cup match


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