FIH Hockey Pro League 2020: World Cup champions Belgium did everything to keep its date with win for the second successive day in the FIH Pro League 2020 for men on Sunday. The hosts defeated the visiting Great Britain 2-1 to garner a maximum of six points from two games.
Earlier, Great Britain drew some consolation when its women’s team won five of maximum points from two games against Belgium.
Belgium claimed a second win in two days over Great Britain. The hosts certainly deserved the win today, but with both matches being settled by a one-goal winning margin, the gap between the top and bottom placed teams in the men's FIH Hockey Pro League 2020 is much closer than the points table suggests.
John-John Dohmen was named as the Player of the Match. The 32-year-old midfielder had another wonderful match, scoring his second goal in two games on the occasion of his 397th international match.
John-John Dohmen (BEL) in his post match conference said: "I think the second game was a lot better than the first one. We started really well, We just didn't score enough. In the second half, we saw we were better physically. They had two more games in their legs, so that made the difference.
"We really want to win the Pro League. We missed the occasion last year when we lost in the final against Australia, so we really want to win it. We have a big big game against the Netherlands, and we will do our best to win the Pro League."
Trailing 1-2 till 54th minute, GB had a massive chance. A pass from the right found Rupert Shipperley in front of goal, but his first-time slap shot went just wide of the left post. For all of Belgium's possession, the scores could so easily have been level. A few moments earlier, GB's Harry Martin cleared a Belgian effort off his own goal line.
In the third quarter, Belgium was in complete control, enjoying long spells of possession. GB was working incredibly hard, but was finding life tough out there. As it was nearing the end of its fourth match in six days, it was hardly surprising. Belgium's Simon Gougnard was shown a green card for breaking down play, so a two-minute sit-down for him.
Two goals in the quarter for Belgium gave it the advantage at half time. Hendrickx now has eight goals in the 2020-21 FIH Hockey Pro League, moving level in the top scorers standings with Argentina's Jose Tolini.
A trademark penalty corner from Alexander Hendrickx, ripping a ferocious drag-flick past the left hand of Pinner to put the Belgians into a 2-1 lead going into the break. Earlier,
Florent van Aubel crashed a backhand strike towards goal, with GB shot-stopper Pinner making the save but found the foot of teammate Harry Martin.
Belgium camped in British territory and the pressure finally started telling when the visitors fail to effectively clear their lines. John-John Dohmen took a touch and smashed home from the centre of the circle, netting a second goal in two matches just seconds after GB's Sorsby returned to the field after serving his suspension.
Belgium responded to conceding in typical fashion, going on the offensive and forcing GB deep into its own territory. However, the British backline was holding firm, showing great composure to keep the World champions at bay.
It was in the 10th minute that GB took the lead! It came from its third penalty corner of the match, with Belgium keeper Loic Van Doren sticking out a glove to stop the drag-flick from the top but could do little about the follow up, with David Condon pouncing on the loose ball to tap into the bottom corner.
George Pinner was in goal today for GB, replacing Oliver Payne who played yesterday. Belgium made an electric start and almost created a chance from the push back, but the ball ran off the back-line, much to GB's relief.