Goalkeeper Aisling D’Hooghe made a crucial contribution in the shootout ©Getty Images

Belgium’s women battled back to beat hosts China in a shootout after a pulsating FIH Pro League encounter ended 3-3.

China had held a 3-1 lead heading into the fourth quarter but strikes from Emilie Sinia and Michelle Struijk ensured a dramatic finale which saw the Red Panthers prevail in sudden death.

It had started so well for China, who were 2-0 up inside three minutes as the rain pounded down in Changzhou.

Zhang Xiaoxue scored with a penalty corner deflection before a superb counter-attack was finished by Liang Meiyu, who moved past goalkeeper Aisling D’Hooghe and converted from a tight angle.

Emilie Sinia was on target for Belgium against China ©Getty Images
Emilie Sinia was on target for Belgium against China ©Getty Images

Belgium responded at the start of the third quarter when Emma Puvrez scooped home at the second attempt, only for Guo Qiu's cross-shot to be inadvertently diverted across the line by D’Hooghe.

Sinia volleyed home in the 51st minute before a slick penalty corner routine was finished off two minutes later, Struijk getting the all-important deflection.

China had a late effort ruled out and the shootout was then delicately poised at 4-4.

However, Alix Gerniers scored the decisive goal in sudden death and D’Hooghe forced Meiyu into missing the target. 

The Pro League continues on Thursday when Belgium’s women and men welcome Great Britain to Antwerp.