Belgium vs Scotland Champions Challenge 1 pool A
Belgium vs Scotland Champions Challenge 1 pool A
(Photo: Rodrigo Jaramillo)

The Scottish supporters were delighted when Alison Bell (14') put the home side ahead against Belgium in the opening game of pool A in the Champions Challenge 1, but delight turned to despair as Belgium fought back and took all three points.

Bell's goal was the only goal of the half, although Belgium will be disappointed that they had an equaliser disallowed when a penalty corner shot was judged to be too high.The game flowed from end-to-end, but neither side were able to capitalise on chances created, and both goalkeepers, Aisling Dhooghe for Belgium and Nicki Cochrane for Scotland, were able to deal with anything that came their way.

That changed in the second half, when within five minutes Belgium found the equaliser through a well-worked penalty corner. Lieselotte van Lindt (39) was able to deflect the ball into the goal from a sweeping shot from Stephanie de Groof. 

It was 20 minutes of busy, but unproductive hockey before a piece of individual brilliance from Barbara Nelen (53) broke the deadlock. Nelen picked up the ball on the halfway line and ran unimpeded into the circle before scoring with a reverse stick shot. Almost immediately Belgium were reduced to 10 players when Stephanie de Groof was sent off, and Scotland worked hard to capitalise. 

The equalser came tantalisingly close when Belgium 'keeper Aisling Dhooghe somehow kept a scrambled ball from crossing the line but, despite great work from captain Linda Clement and an energetic performance which saw the Belgium team under enormous pressure, the home side were unable to get the equaliser.

"We always knew we could compete with higher-ranked teams," said Clement after the game. "While Belgium deserved their two goals, we were pleased with the way we piled on the pressure. We know we must be more clinical in front of goal."