Sandeep Singh struck twice and goalkeeper Bharat Chhetri saved a penalty-stroke to steer India to a 3-2 win over Belgium in the second hockey Test at Antwerp. The win secured India a 1-0 lead in the three-match series. The teams had played a 3-3 draw in the opening Test.
Sandeep (26th and 67th minutes) converted two penalty-corners while skipper Rajpal Singh scored a field goal in the 39th minute. For the hosts the goal scorers were Cedric Charlier (10th min) and Thomas Briels (55th min).
Belgium began aggressively and earned the first of their three penalty-corners in the third minute when Gurbaj Singh wrongly tackled Jerome Dekeyser.
Jerome Truyens' drag-flick found the hand of Vikas Pillay, which resulted in a penalty-stroke. India goalkeeper Chhetri brought off a splendid save with his stick high on the right.
Belgium scored their first goal when Charlier struck in the 10th minute after receiving a long pass from deep defender Alexandre De Saedeleer.
India made it 1-1 in the 33rd minute with a penalty-corner conversion by Sandeep. A solo effort by Rajpal in the 39th minute put India 2-1 ahead. This was a spectacular goal as the Indian captain stole the ball on the centre-line and worked his way past four defenders before beating the Belgium goalkeeper.
Somdev in quarters of Aptos Challenger
New Delhi: Somdev Devvarman struggled past Alex Bogolomov Jr. in three sets to book a quarterfinal berth in the singles event of the ATP Challenger event in Aptos, USA. The second seed Somdev faced stiff competition from the American before triumphing 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 in the second round of the $75,000 hard court event.
Bhutia to return home
New Delhi: National football captain Bhaichung Bhutia is returning home from Portugal, where Indian players have been undergoing a two-month training stint, after being diagnosed with a thyroid-related illness. “Bhaichung has been diagnosed as suffering from thyroiditis with hyperthyroidism. Team doctor Sachin Yadav has advised him not to stay near sea environment and to avoid salted diet, sea food,” an AIFF statement said.