Chikte takes India to semis

Chikte takes India to semis

Goalkeeper Akash Chikte put up a superlative show as India edged past Belgium 3-2 via penalty shootout to enter the semi-finals of the FIH Hockey World League (HWL) Final in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday. The match ended in 3-3 draw in the stipulated time.

The spectator's cheers for every ball, it was a full packed crowd stand behind their home team India.

After three efforts it was 2-0 for India but Belgium roared back forcing sudden-death by scoring both of their two remaining efforts while India failed to convert. It was a vastly improved performance from India, who lost two and drew one in the group stage. "Hopefully, we will now play with more energy and win the semi-final". In the second quarter Gurjant Singh pushed the ball into the D area, though Sunil's sliding stick guided the ball outside of the goal post. They fought back to 2-2 before Rupinder Pal Singh gave India a 3-2 lead. Four minutes later, it was doubled, thanks to a ferocious penalty corner flick from Harmanpreet Singh. Rupinder Pal Singh then scored the third but Belgium nipped one back. But the Belgians fought back to score twice either side of the third quarter break; penalty corners off the stick of Loick Luypaert taking his goal tally to an fantastic eight in four matches.

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During the allotted 60 minutes, India scored through Gurjant Singh (31st minute), Harmanpreet Singh (34th) and Rupinder (46th), while Loick Luypaert (38th and 46th) converted two penalty corners to lead the Belgian fightback before Cedric Charlier (52nd) scored the equaliser after Rupinder's goal. But Harmanpreet Singh's shot went straight to the Belgian goalkeeper.

England and Germany will meet Argentina and Netherlands respectively in the quarterfinal matches tomorrow.

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