HWL final: India shock Belgium to reach semi finals

TIL Desk Sports/ Hosts India produced a spirited performance to stun Olympic silver medallist Belgium in the shoot-out and progress to the semi-finals of the Hockey World League (HWL) final after both the teams were locked at 3-3 at the end of regulation time, in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday.

Warming the bench for most part of the match, goalkeeper Akash Chikte dished out a superb performance to hand India their first win of the tournament, a win that will erase all their wrongdoing of the pool stages.

It was a great exhibition of attacking hockey from both the sides as the regulation time yielded as many as six goals, three each from either side.

While Gurjant Singh (31st minute), Harmanpreet Singh (35th) and Rupinderpal Singh (46th) were the goal scorers for India, Belgium’s goals came from the sticks of Loick Luypaert (39th, 46th) and Amaury Keusters (53rd).

But Chikte, who gave his place to young Suraj Karkera in the match and was brought into action in the 47th minute, stood up to his coach’s faith and produced four brilliant saves in the shoot-out that went to sudden death to seal the famous win for India.

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