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Belgium Edge India in Thrilling Shootout; Argentina Women Dominate in Decisive Victory

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Lausanne, Switzerland: After a dominant victory over India in their FIH Hockey Pro League encounter just a few days ago, Belgium were handed a much tougher task when they faced the same opposition India in Antwerp on Saturday. The two sides played out to an entertaining draw, with the home side claiming the win in the shootout.

The Belgian women’s side were also made to fight for their victory over India’s women while there was double victory for Argentina’s men’s and women’s sides, with the men given a run for their money by the ever-improving Ireland. This is how the day’s action unfolded…

(Women’s) Argentina 4 – 0 USA

Argentina were dominant in their 4-0 win over the USA as both captains celebrated major international milestones, Argentina’s Maria Granatto playing in her 200th match and American Amanda Golini her 150th. Argentina were able to put the USA under constant pressure, making numerous circle entries in the first half and coming away with penalty corner goals from Agustina Gorzelany in the 2nd minute and Victoria Sauze in the 14th.

Argentina continued to peg the Americans back in the second half, helped by the USA struggling to get out of dangerous spaces and giving possession away too easily. Julieta Jankunas grabbed herself a brace with field goals in the 45th and 59th minutes to wrap up an emphatic victory.

Agostina Alonso of Argentina was named as player of the match and said: “I think that we were more intense in our pressure and that was the main difference… I’m a runner, so my job is to force the other team to make some silly mistakes and I think that we got the ball a lot more than the other game, so happy with the three points today.”

(Women’s) Belgium 2 – 1 India

Hosts Belgium dominated play with an aggressive press in their 2-1 win against a resilient India. The Belgians pressed hard for 60 minutes, forcing India to absorb long periods of pressure and play from deep in their own third. Ambre Ballenghien put Belgium ahead with a 14th-minute drag flick, and Vanessa Blockmans extended Belgium’s lead from a penalty corner rebound in the 20th.

Belgium kept suffocating India in the second half, but then conceded a goal very much against the run of play in the 34th minute, Sangita Kumari slamming in after receiving a long pass behind the Belgian lines. India’s hopes were revived when they started to find more space in the final quarter, but they missed some golden opportunities and Belgium were able to close out the match.

Player of the match went to Belgium’s Delphine Marien who said: “We played a really good game compared to the first one we played against India. We had more connections up front but at the end we didn’t score all the goal opportunities we had, but I think we played overall a really great game.”

(Men’s) Belgium 2 – 2 India (SO: 3 – 1)

Hosts Belgium and India shared the points in an exciting 2-2 draw, with Belgium then clinching a bonus point for winning the shootout. The Red Lions struggled with their final touch around the Indian circle in the first half, while the Indians created plenty of opportunities. Araijeet Singh Hundal put India ahead in the 11th minute with a deflection from open play, but Felix Denayer equalised for Belgium on the stroke of half time off a penalty corner rebound.

With both teams missing opportunities in the third quarter, the match was set for a thrilling finish. Belgium struck with a 50th-minute penalty corner with Florent van Aubel reacting fastest off the goalkeeper’s pads. India then replied with just 3 minutes remaining, Sukhjeet Singh’s deflection from open play sending the match to a shootout where Belgium prevailed.

Florent van Aubel was awarded the player of the match for Belgium and said: “We didn’t play our best game, I think we conceded way too many defensive errors from our part, so it wasn’t good enough. But at the end it’s good to train in shootouts again, I think that’s the positive about it, and good to get the shootout win.”

(Men’s) Ireland 3 – 4 Argentina

Argentina dug deep and came from behind twice in a difficult 4-3 win over a tough Irish side. Ireland disrupted Argentina to control the first half and Luke Madeley put Ireland ahead with a 14th-minute drag flick. Bautista Capurro equalised five minutes later with a sensational reverse shot, but Madeley restored Ireland’s lead immediately with another drag flick. Ireland missed a couple of chances, only for Tomas Domene to level matters for Argentina with a drag flick just before half time.

Nicolas Keenan put Argentina ahead in the 39th minute, getting in amongst the Irish defence for a deflection, but Alistair Empey hit back immediately for Ireland with his first international goal. Thomas Habif struck the killer blow for Argentina in the 53rd minute, deflecting in from a recycled penalty corner. Ireland had one last roll of the dice with a penalty corner in the final seconds, but they couldn’t convert.

A breathless Bautista Capurro of Argentina was awarded the player of the match and said: “It was a very hard match. We played well, the first quarter it was quite difficult, but fortunately we won the match.”

Top Scorer Armband

To celebrate the talented goal-scorers throughout the season the FIH introduced the Top Scorer Armband, which is being worn by the leading goal-scorers in the men’s and women’s competitions as a visual mark for the fans, and for the players to wear proudly, match after match.

Current Top Scorers:

Women – Yibbi Jansen (NED) (15 goals)

Men – Jip Janssen (NED) (9 goals)

To see the current standings in the FIH Hockey Pro League, click here.

FIH Hockey Pro League – 25 May 2024

Sportcentrum Wilrijkse Plein-Antwerp, (BEL)

WOMEN

Result: Match 37 (W)

Argentina 4 – 0 United States

Player of the match: Agostina Alonso (ARG)

Umpires: Sarah Wilson (SCO), Alison Keogh (IRL), Sean Edwards (ENG-video)

Result: Match 38 (W)

India 1 – 2 Belgium

Player of the match: Delphine Marien (BEL)

Umpires: Ole Ingwersen (GER), Raphaël Adrien (GER), Ben Goentgen (GER-video)

MEN

Result: Match 37 (M)

Belgium 2 – 2 India (SO: 3 – 1)

Player of the match: Florent van Aubel (BEL)

Umpires: Jonas Van’T Hek (NED), Sean Edwards (ENG), Alison Keogh (IRL-video)

Result: Match 38 (M)

Ireland 3 – 4 Argentina

Player of the match: Bautista Capurro (ARG)

Umpires: Ben Goentgen (GER), Annelize Rostron (RSA), Kamile Mockaityte (LTU-video)

-FIH

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Indian men and women teams lose to Belgium in FIH Hockey Pro League

 

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