Captain PR Sreejesh’s lacklustre show under the bar saw India succumb to a 1-2 defeat to Belgium in the 36th Hero Champions Trophy at the Lee Valley Hockey Centre in London on Monday.
Sreejesh would be disappointed to concede two goals through his pads against the dominant Belgians, resulting in India’s first loss in three outings of the ongoing Champions Trophy.
Alexander Hendrickx converted a penalty corner in the 25th minute and India equalised through Devender Walmiki five minutes later, but Jerome Truyens won the day for the Belgians through his field goal in the 44th.
The loss leaves India on four points from three outings. They next play South Korea on Tuesday.
This was the first win for Belgium in three outings. They join India and hosts Great Britain on four points each from three matches. Britain on Monday outplayed South Korea 4-1 for their first win in the tournament, while World champions Australia consolidated their position atop the standings with a 4-3 victory over Germany.
Australia are now on seven points, while Germany are at the bottom of the standings with just two points. South Korea have logged three points in as many games.
The India-Belgium match began with the Red Lions forcing a penalty corner in the very first minute, but Manpreet Singh saved a soaring shot to avert danger.
Belgium gave India a score in the 10th minute when Sebastian got into the lead in the 10th minute when Sebastien Dockier’s cross from the right found Simon Gougnard in the goalmouth, but his defection from close range went over the crossbar.
In the very next minute, Indian strikers made their way into the rival circle for the first time when Akashdeep Singh and Mandeep Singh moved in exchanging passes, but Mandeep then lost control of the ball.
Belgium came close to scoring in the 17th minute but Indian defender Kothajit Singh moved to his right to intercept a goal-bearing shot after goalkeeper Sreejesh had left his charge to rush out and block the Belgian striker.