Sultan Azlan Shah Cup: Men in Blue suffer first defeat, lose 1-3 to Australia

Nine-time winners of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, Australia now have seven points from three outings, while last year's runner-up India are on four points after three matches.

Last Updated: May 02, 2017, 16:40 PM IST
Sultan Azlan Shah Cup: Men in Blue suffer first defeat, lose 1-3 to Australia

Ipoh: Indian hockey team's two-match unbeaten streak came to an end as they were defeated 3-1 by mighty Australia in the ongoing Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey tournament.

In the third round-robin league encounter of the tournament on Tuesday, Men in Blue lost the match despite taking an early lead.

After managing to hold the world champions in the first quarter, India took the initial lead in the 25th minute through a field goal from Harmanpreet Singh.

Working his way into the circle from the right, Harmanpreet crossed the ball for Mandeep in the goalmouth, but it went into the goal off a defender's stick.

But as expected, Australia later bounced back and hit three field goals to maintain their position atop the round-robin league standings.

Eddie Ockenden (30th minute), Tom Craig (34th) and Tom Wickham (51st) showed why Australia are one of the most feared teams in the world through their outstanding field goals as the Indian challenge faded in the last quarter.

Nine-time winners of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, Australia now have seven points from three outings, while last year's runner-up India are on four points after three matches.

Australia, going into this game, were high on confidence as they yesterday gave an exhibition of their powerful game by outplaying hosts Malaysia 6-1.

On the other hand, after being held to a 2-2 draw by Great Britain on the opening outing, the Indian strikers produced a better performance in the 3-0 victory over New Zealand.

It was India`s 2016 Junior World Cup winners Mandeep Singh (23`) and Harmanpreet Singh (27` and 47`), who scored for India while the defence led by Rupinder Pal Singh and Surender Kumar ensured they stayed in lead to win the match and enthrall the Indian supporters in Ipoh.

India have won the Azlan Shah Cup five times, including being joint champions with South Korea in a rained-off final in 2010, whereas Australia are nine-time winners of the tournament.

(With Agency inputs)