Indian men’s hockey team failed to qualify for the gold medal match as they went down to Belgium 2-5 in the semifinals. India led in the first quarter and the match remained tied till the end of the third quarter but Alexander Hendrickx scored twice and JJ Dominique Dohemen added the fifth in the fourth quarter to take Belgium to the finals.
Belgium broke the deadlock inside two minutes as Loick Luypaert converted from the penalty corner. India then hit back through Harmanpreet Singh from the second penalty corner that India won. then minutes later Mandeep Singh put India ahead with a neat finish from a Amit Rohidas cross. India was dominated in the first five minutes but the tables turned ever since they equalised.
Belgium started the second quarter just like they did the first one, as they won penalty corners in quick successions. Then the highest-scoring team at the Tokyo Olympics equalised by the tournament’s highest goal scorer Alexander Hendrickx from their sixth penalty corner. Both teams tried to go ahead in the match but they headed into the break on level terms.
In the third quarter, both teams were a bit cautious and the pace of the game also dropped because of the heat. India won a penalty corner but could not capitalise as it was clocked by the first runner out of the box. The tactical quarter remained goalless as the teams headed into the third break on equal terms.
Alexander Hendrickx gave Belgium the lead in the match from their 10th Penalty Corner with some 11 minutes left in the match. It was also the Belgian’s 13th goal of the tournament. India tried to fight back int the match but Hendrickx then scored again to complete his hat-trick. Then on the final minute, JJ Dominique Dohemen scored the fifth goal for the Rio Olympics silver medallists.
India’s last appearance in the final of the Olympics came way back in 1980 Moscow Games, where they went on to win their last of the eight gold medals. They will now take on the loser of the second semi-final between Australia and Germany for the bronze medal.