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India prevail 3-2 over Belgium

With Belgian defender Jerome Dekeyser making good of Prabodh Tirkey's lapse to find parity in the 63nd minute, Rajpal Singh scored the winner with three minutes for the hooter (3-2).

india Updated: Jan 28, 2008 22:48 IST

India scored a not-so-confident 3-2 win in their third Test to take a 2-1 lead over a fighting Belgium in their five-match series at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium on Monday evening.

Trailing by a sixth minute goal by Charles Vandewghe, India equalised through Raghunath (33nd minute). Dilip Tirkey converted a penalty corner in the 47th minute for a 2-1 lead.

With Belgian defender Jerome Dekeyser making good of Prabodh Tirkey's lapse to find parity in the 63nd minute, Rajpal Singh scored the winner with three minutes for the hooter (3-2).

The Indians' performance was a shade below that put up by them yesterday. As in the earlier two Test matches, the first half spoils were even among the rivals. It was a matter of cashing in on the chances and the Belgians showed it in greater measure in the sixth minute itself when the hosts were not even well settled.

Winger Patrice Houssein went in menacingly and shot towards the Indian goal. Goalkeeper Bharat Chetri, who was in his best form yesterday, tried to swing his stick to deflect the ball but missed it totally. Charles Vandeweghe, who was in an ideal position, trapped the ball and slammed it home.

Shivender Singh was in his elements and showed artistry in interceptions and kept up the pressure on the mid-field. Though India gained three penalty corners in eight minutes (20th to 28th min), all direct shots taken by veteran defender Dilip Tirkey went in vain as Belgian goalkeeper Vincent Vanash was upto the task.

Though the Indians were more aggressive and penetrative, they found the equalizer only in the 33nd minute. Shivender's forward pass from just outside the circle trickled towards the goal and with two defenders charging in, Raghunath deflected the ball home past Vincent Vanash (1-1).

The Belgians looked more dangerous in the second half and kept up a steady flow of passes on the middle. One such move almost resulted in Belgium scoring a goal with Chetri out of his charge. Patrice Houssein sped down the middle and made his way to the right and took a powerful carpet drive towards the goal.

An advancing Chetri saw the ball go past to his left. Thomas Briels dived to get the ball, but failed to connect.

The Indians regrouped and started looking for openings. The two Belgian defenders were forced to find gaps to pass the ball, following counter-attacks. But they found the four Indian players waiting like hawks to intercept them.

India increased the lead in the 47th minute following their fourth penalty corner. This time, Dilip Tirkey was right on target as his drive yielded the desired result (2-1).

Though the Belgains pressed hard for parity, the Indian defence thwarted two of their attempts. Tushar Khandekar was a trifle late with his first timer near the goal and the rebounder went to Raghunath. However Raghunath hit it directly on Vanash's pads.

The visitors earned their first penalty corner but Ignace Tirkey excelled in deflecting Jerome Dekeyser's powerful shot.

Against the run of play, the Belgians found parity in the 63nd minute when Jerome Dekeyser made good use of a defensive lapse by Captain Prabodh Tirkey (2-2). But the hardworking Indians could not be denied the winner as Rajpal Singh scooped the ball home with an intelligent reverse flick, with three defenders in front of him. (3-2).