Men’s hockey at Tokyo: Team India goes down against Belgium in semifinal

India lost to Belgium 2-5 in the first semifinal of men’s hockey at the Tokyo Olympics on August 3.

Belgium will now face the winner of the second semi-final between Australia and Germany in the gold medal match on August 5.

On the other hand, India will lock horns in the bronze medal match on August 5 with the loser of the game between Australia and Germany.

In their first semifinal match since 1972 Olympics, India played well in the first half but Belgium capitalised in the last quarter.

Loick Luypaert gave Belgium an early lead in the match as he registered a goal in the starting minutes of the first quarter.

However, India struck back as Harmanpreet Singh and Mandeep Singh scored goals in quick succession, and as a result, India gained a 2-1 lead in the first quarter.

In the second quarter, Belgium got the equaliser as Alexander Hendrickx successfully converted a penalty corner, and it brought the scoreline level to 2-2. No more goals were scored in the second quarter.

The deadlock was not broken in the third quarter as well, and as a result, heading into the last 15 minutes of the game, both India and Belgium were highly tensed.

In the fourth quarter, it was Belgium who struck first as Hendrickx scored his second goal of the match, giving Belgium a 3-2 lead with more than 11 minutes still left to play.

A few minutes later, Hendrickx got his hat-trick as he converted from a penalty and hence, Belgium gained a 4-2 lead.

In a tactical move, India substituted their goalkeeper, Sreejesh, for an extra outfield player, in the dying seconds of the competition. Belgium capitalised on the same and scored their fifth.

In the end, Belgium managed to hang on and the side registered a victory, progressing ahead to the finals, their second successive final appearance.

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