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    Default India in hockey championship semis

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    India won 4-2 against Belgium in game 11 of of the BDO Champions Challenge I (men) on Thursday and won pool A in front on New Zealand, Belgium and China, reported.

    The beginning of match was spirited, with chances at both ends, including a penalty-corner that India shot wide. India controlled most of the play, with Shivendra Singh and Prabhjot Singh very active upfront, but the Belgian defense held tight.

    Prabhjot Singh had a great opportunity after stealing a ball from Xavier Reckinger in deep defense but his shot was just wide. India finally opened the scoring on a penalty-corner in the 19th minute, with a low flick by Dhananjay Mahadik.

    They could have doubled their tally a few minutes later on another penalty-corner, but the initial shot was saved and Rajpal Singh could not negotiate the rebound. Belgium reacted well and, after crashing a penalty-corner on the post, were soon in the lead with a penalty-stroke by Jerome Dekeyser then less than one minute later by a field goal by Renaud Pangrazio.

    The end of the period was all Indian, with a goal by Shivendra Singh, left unmarked on the far post for an easy deflection and some spectacular action in front of David van Rysselberghe in the Belgium goal. After an exciting half of hockey, the two teams went for the break back to back (2-2).

    India missed a chance to break the deadlock early in second half on a penalty-corner, and the game continued back and forth at a high tempo, providing thrilling entertainment to the crowd. Tushar Khandker scored the go-ahead goal in the 48th minute, after a series of saved shots, but Belgium were not down yet and Adrian D'Souza had to pull a spectacular diving save, well appreciated by the crowd, to protect the Indian net.

    Belgium’s push, temporarily hindered by a yellow card to Cedric Charlier quickly balanced with one of the same color to Tushar Khandker, continued with the same intensity but the very focused Indian Team denied them until the end, scoring a last second goal by Prabhjot Singh.

    Despite losing to arch-rivals Canada (2-3), Argentina qualified for the semi-finals, where they would join India (winner over Belgium 4-2), Pakistan (who edged South Africa 4-1) and New Zealand (held to a 2-2 draw by China).

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