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India Sweeps Into Semis Of FIH Hockey World League Final

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06 December 2017

Tapan Das

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Bhubaneswar: Finally there is a reason to cheer for Indian Hockey fans. The local team is through to the semis of the FIH Hockey World League (HWL) Final after defeating Belgium 3-2 in a nail-biting tier on Wednesday.

Goalkeeper Akash Chikte put up a superlative show as India edged past Belgium through penalty shootout to enter the semi-finals of the HWL Final.

Chikte blocked four Belgian attackers during the shootout, while Lalit Upadhyay, Rupinder Pal Singh and Harmanpreet Singh were on the mark for India.

Loick Luypaert (38th and 46th) converted two penalty corners to lead the Belgian fight back before Cedric Charlier (52nd) scored the equaliser after Rupinder's goal.

Gurjant Singh (31st minute), Harmanpreet (34th) and Rupinder (46th) scored in the regulation time for India, as the hosts put forth a stupendous display with the sticks against Rio silver-medallist Belgium.

The performance by Indian team was witnessed by a full capacity crowd at the Kalinga Stadium complex. Especially, the penalty shootout sent Odisha’s sports crazy public into the frenzy.

“The match was very interesting. These kind of close ties pull crowd towards Hockey. We expect more exciting matches through the series,” a visitor to Kalinga Stadium, Laxman Kumar Behera said.

“Wednesday evening’s show by the Indian Hockey team was superb. The players were at their best and made a thumping comeback,” an Indian Hockey fan, Ajay Nayak said.

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Cheering Indian Hockey Fans