The Red Lions took their revenge on India by beating 3-2 on Sunday in Antwerp in their 14th Pro League Hockey match, their 2nd confrontation against the world’s 4th nation.
The Indians, bronze medals at the Tokyo Games, took the best at the Olympic and world champions on Saturday, 4-5 in the shootouts after a 3-3 draw at the end of regular time.
Thanks to this success, the Belgians, who hold the title, returned to the top of the Dutch leaders, both with 31 points. The Netherlands, beaten 4-1 on Sunday by Germany, still count 2 matches down.
Privés d’Arthur Van Doren, injured Saturday à la cheville, Michel van den Heuvel replaced Gauthier Boccard and Victor Wegnez in support of Arthur De Sloover at the central axis of the defense. Belgium started the match well with a missed opportunity and a penalty-corner (PC) obtained but poorly negotiated.
The pace of the party slowed down, with the Indians taking on more and more offensive initiatives. Following a beautiful triangle combination, Abishek trumpeted Vincent Vanasch, who had regained his place among the Belgian posters after a disruption of several weeks (25th).
Visibly corrected in time, the world No. 2 reacted to entry into the game in the second period. De Sloover delivered and assists perfectly for Nicolas De Kerpel, recovering a flat in time to equalize (1-1, 33rd). In the 4th and final quarters, the Belgian 2nd PC flew, with Alexander Hendrickx in the canon, sending the ball under Parattu’s feet (2-1, 48th).
Vanasch had to be employed as the match ended at the end of the game. Simon Gougnard, fired by the adverse garden, provoked a stroke that Hendrickx converted (3-1, 59th), before Mandeep Singh failed to fix the score at 3-2 in the final seconds (60th).
With 4 points on 6 against India and with only 2 games left to play next week in England, the Red Lions no longer have their hands on them to extend their title acquired last season.
The Netherlands, who still have to face India and Spain twice, need more than 5 units to win their 1st Pro League trophy, after Australia (2019) and Belgium (2021).