India’s men turned the tables on Belgium in their FIH Hockey Pro League encounter in London, despite the Olympic champions bringing several of their more established stars back into the fold. The Indians rallied from defeat at the hand of the Belgians last weekend to claim an emphatic 5-1 victory this time around. China’s women produced a thrilling ending to their match against Great Britain, scoring two goals in the final 11 minutes, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the home side from claiming the win.

(Men’s) India vs Belgium 5-1

India raced into an early lead, taking just 90 seconds to find the back of the net. Vivek Prasad ran onto the ball at the top of the circle with his powerful strike beating Belgian keeper Loic van Doren.

The Indians then doubled their lead in the second quarter. All-time top FIH Hockey Pro League goal scorer Harmanpreet Singh taking care of business off a penalty corner, dragging it into the bottom left corner.

There was much more to come from the Indians in the first half. With two minutes to go to the break, Mandeep Singh made a great attacking run along the baseline, playing it back through the middle to Amit Rohidas whose reverse stick shot deflected into goal off Van Doren.

They were not done yet, though. Another penalty corner saw India adding a fourth unanswered goal after Amit’s initial drag hit Belgian defender Victor Wegnez on the feet, and Harmanpreet was on hand to slot in the rebound.

The Belgians managed to build more pressure and create several opportunities in a stronger second half. They finally made the breakthrough at the start of the final period, William Ghislain being rewarded for a good game by finally getting the better of keeper PR Sreejesh.

But the Indians would have the final say. Dilpreet Singh drilled it through the keeper’s legs to restore India’s four-goal lead and secure new coach Craig Fulton his first victory – against his former team no less.

Manpreet Singh was named player of the match and said: “We feel fantastic because the boys played a really good game and showed their potential. We talked about last weekend where we were lacking in the last two games and didn’t score enough goals. But today everyone played really well and that’s why we scored five goals.”

(Women’s) Great Britain vs China 4-3

Like the Indian men had done against Belgium earlier in the afternoon, the GB side took the lead in the opening minutes of the match.

A well-worked penalty corner saw Giselle Ansley passing to Lily Owsley on the right post who slotted it in for the 1-0 advantage.

Just a few minutes later, GB were on the attack again, a good team effort seeing Isabelle Petter flipping the ball up for Hannah Martin to slap it into goal to double their lead – all within the first four minutes of the match.

The Chinese managed to pull one back five minutes later after being awarded their first penalty corner, which led to a stroke. Gu Bingfeng found the bottom right corner to become top goalscorer in the tournament so far with seven in total.

GB scored another goal before half time, Sarah Jones working it in well at the top of circle to find Sarah Robertson at the back post who made it 3-1.

The home side were awarded another penalty corner in the third quarter with Ansley dragging it towards goal and Martin finding the deflection. Chinese keeper Ye Jiao injured her knee in her effort to save the shot and had to leave the pitch in a wheelchair.

Having regrouped, with just over 10 minutes to go, Lee Hong produced a lovely run along the goal line to fire it in, the ball popping up for Zhang Zindan to swat it in and reduce the deficit to two. The gap was down to just one less than a minute later after Zou Meirong’s deflection off a penalty corner found its way into the goal off GB defender Ansley’s foot.

That made for an exciting final period with China pushing for the equaliser. But a first victory of the mini-tournament was not to be as GB held on for the 4-3 win.

Giselle Ansley was named player of the match and said: “That was a good game from everyone today, intense at the end but I’m really pleased that we could still hold it out and win that game… I know we conceded three but to score four goals, we’re chuffed with that.”

To see the current standings in the FIH Hockey Pro League, click here.

FIH Hockey Pro League – 2 June 2023

Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, London (Great Britain)

Result: Men’s Match 40

India 5-1 Belgium

Player of the Game: Manpreet Singh (IND)

Umpires: Sean Rapaport (RSA), Wanri Venter (RSA), Hong-Zhen Lim (SGP-video)


Result: Women’s Match 40

Great Britain 4-3 China

Player of the Game: Giselle Ansley (GBR)

Umpires: Ahmed Elsayed (EGY-video) Ayanna McClean (TTO), Wanri Venter (RSA-video)