After the win over Belgium 2-1 in the FIH Hockey Pro League clash at Kalinga Stadium here on Saturday, Indian men's team coach Graham Reid was pleased with the result in a thrilling encounter.
"The result is good. It is good to play tough games. What I'm pleased about is that we won a tough encounter. They threw everything at us, especially in the last quarter. We came out at the top in that too. It is a good thing to go through to experience because when you come up against that again you understand to know that can do it," Reid told reporters in the post-match conference.
Mandeep Singh (2') and Ramandeep Singh (46') scored for India against the World Champions. With this sensational victory, India consolidated their world ranking from number five to four for the first time since 2003.
India almost threatened to double their lead in the 12th minute when Ramandeep Singh and Raj Kumar Pal teamed up in the circle but could not find success.
"We gave away too many opportunities at the end of the day. We have to get better than that but we played against the best team in the world. So that also happens. We have got lots of things to learn from that game and that's what I keep saying. We need to improve and we will start overnight," the coach said.
Indian goalkeepers PR Sreejesh and Krishan Pathak lived up to the billing hooter-to-hooter, backing India's defence by knocking off pretty much every opportunity created by the Belgian strikers.
"Great to see Krishan playing well and Sreejesh both keepers played really well. Both players now have the really good experience of tough encounters s it is very hard to buy an experience," Reid said.
This was India's 50th win against Belgium and the most memorable one as it has helped the team consolidate the position of world number four pushing defending Olympic Champions Argentina to five.
Pathak was adjudged Player of the Match for his brave performance. India will take on Belgium at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium on Sunday, February 9.
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