Azlan Shah Cup: India shock Australia 4-3
Ipoh: India dazzled with a near-perfect performance to stun world champions Australia 4-3 in a pulsating round-robin match of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament on Monday.
Tushar Khandker (19th and 32nd minute), captain Rajpal Singh (21st) and Shivendra Singh (61st) scored for India while Trent Milton (38th), Christopher Ciriello (40th) and Mark Paterson (70th) were the Australian marksmen.
With today's win, India are the only undefeated side in the tournament topping the seven team table with ten points from three wins and one draw, while Australia have six points from three outings.
Defending champions India, who led 3-0 at half time, recorded their first win against Australia since 2003. Both the sides though came to the tournament without some key players.
India outplayed Australia in the first half with an intelligent gameplan to contain their rivals and silence their attacks. Their ball rotation and short passes were exemplary as the attacking midfielders supported the forwards to mesmerize the Australian defence.
India did not allow the Australian forwards to attack from the centre as Rajpal, Mandeep Antil and Shivendra denied the space. That forced the Aussies to run down the flanks which the Indian deep defence and wing halfs anticipated with perfection.
Jose Brasa's men used both flanks with wingers Mandeep Antil and Tushar Khandker with good measure while Rajpal and Shivendra led the onslaughts down the centre.
India wasted three scoring chances to break into the lead. First, Khandker was foiled by sweeper Christopher Ciriello followed by Sarvanjit Singh's double fumble at the goalmouth.
India, however, drew first blood in the 19th minute from a move engineered by Arjun Halappa and Gurbaj Singh. Shivendra took over and he pushed the ball to the waiting Khandker to apply the finishing touch.