India stormed into the semi-finals of the hockey Champions Trophy after thrashing Belgium 4-2 in the quarter finals at the Kalinga stadium here .
The team will face arch-rival Pakistan, which beat the Netherlands in the other quarter-final Thursday and will be looking to take the revenge for the Asia Cup defeat.
Having defeated the world cup silver medallists, the Netherlands in the last league Tuesday, India opened their quarter-final match against Belgium with high confidence and all strength in the first quarter.
However, the experienced Belgians earned two successive penalty corners in the 8th minute -. putting trouble on the host team – but failed to capitalise both the opportunities. They also earned another penalty corner in the 12th minute and this time Felix Denayer perfectly utilized it, scoring for Belgium.
Continuing their aggressive style of play, Sebastien Dockier scored second goal for Belgium in the 18th minute.
Not far behind, India also bagged their first goal in the same minute when Rupinder Singh smacked a penalty corner direct to the net. The mid-fielders also created some chances, but the forward players failed to capitlise the opportunities in the second quarter.
Later, India came to the track when the second goal came from the stick of Uthappa Sannuvanda in the 27th minute, leaving them level on the scoreboard.
In the beginning of the third quarter, both the teams struggled to score even though India had a chance. The confident Indian team finally bagged their third goal in the 41th minute when striker Akashdeep Singh deflected a ball to the goal post.
India continued to put pressure on Belgium from the beginning of the fourth quarter. As a result, the host team bagged their fourth goal from the stick of Dharamvir Singh in 49th minute. Belgium earned a penalty corner in the fourth quarter, but failed to convert the opportunity.
Belgium desperately tried to score in the dying hours, but Indian players blocked their every move.
Indian team coach Roelant Oltmans said: “The team played excellent in the game. After the first quarter, we really started good hockey today. The boys fought hard to make it to the semifinal. I am happy that they continue their good performance.”