Belgium beat Great Britain in FIH Pro League to extend lead at top

With the win, Belgium have built up a seven-point lead at the top of the FIH Pro League table. They play second-placed Netherlands next.

By Utathya Nag

The Belgium men’s hockey team came from behind to beat Great Britain 2-1 in the FIH Pro League at the Royal Uccle Sports Club in Brussels.

The win takes the Red Lions seven points clear of second-placed Netherlands at the top of the points table. Belgium have 24 points from 10 matches while the Netherlands, whom they face next Tuesday, have 17 from eight.

Belgium started the match on the front foot but Great Britain weathered the early storm and started to grow into the game.

Belgium goalkeeper Loic Van Doren made two saves within a matter of seconds to keep his team from going a goal behind around the five-minute mark. Five minutes later, though, the 24-year-old was beaten.

Doren stuck out a glove to keep out Luke Taylor’s drag-flick at goal from a penalty corner but couldn’t stop David Condon from bundling in the rebound.

The Red Lions responded with an offensive spell of their own but the British backline held out till the end of the first quarter. The resistance, however, finally broke three minutes into the second quarter.

John-John Dohmen, who hit Belgium’s winner in their 3-2 win over the same opponents on Saturday, expertly finished off a well-worked field goal after some quick passing in the opposition third. The reigning World and European champions kept up their pace and took the lead with less than a minute left to the half-time whistle.

Belgian drag-flick specialist Alexander Hendrickx dispatched his eighth goal of the FIH Pro League with power and precision from a penalty corner to ensure his team a 2-1 lead going into the midway break.

Belgium’s Alexander Hendrickx is currently the joint top scorer in FIH Pro League 2020.

Despite being a goal ahead, Belgium didn’t put their foot off the gas and kept Great Britain pinned deep into their own half for most of the third and fourth quarters but couldn’t convert their domination into a goal.

Great Britain’s Rupert Shipperley had one big opportunity to equalize with six minutes left but only managed to hit the side netting, letting Belgium off the hook.

Great Britain women’s team triumphs 2-1

The Great Britain women’s team moved up to fourth in the FIH Pro League women’s table after a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Belgium in the two team’s second clash in 24 hours.

Having beaten them 3-1 through a penalty shootout in Saturday's match, Great Britain took five of the available six points against the Red Panthers.

It was a scrappy start to the contest as neither team managed any meaningful effort on goal in the first 12 minutes of the match. The narrative, however, changed in the final three minutes of the first quarter.

Great Britain took over the reins, pegging Belgium back and capitalised in the 14th minute from the first penalty corner of the game.

Anna Toman’s shot seemed to have been well covered by Belgium goalie Elena Sotgiu but Lily Owsley intervened late with a deft touch to lift it over and into the goal to put Great Britain in front.

The lead, though, didn’t last long. Thirty seconds into the second quarter, Belgium captain Barbara Nelen finished off a quick passing move from the right to restore parity for the Red Panthers. At half-time, the score was 1-1.

The Belgians looked more dangerous in the second half, but it was the Olympic champions who edged ahead again in the dying seconds of the third quarter. The goal came from a penalty corner with Toman turning provider again, this time setting up Sarah Robertson, who was playing her 150th match.

Great Britain’s Sarah Robertson scored the winning goal against Belgium in her 150th match.

In their bid to draw level, Belgium threw bodies forward in the final quarter, opening themselves up to counter-attacks. Elena, though, made some crucial saves to deny Great Britain a two-goal cushion.

Her effort almost paid off as the Belgians came close to drawing level with the final move of the match but Great Britain survived the scare to secure all three points.

With the win, Great Britain moved up to fourth on the table with 11 points from eight matches while Belgium stayed sixth with seven from eight outings.


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