Johor Cup: Buoyant India ready for Aussie challenge
Johor Bahru (Malaysia): High on confidence after winning two consecutive matches, the Indian under-21 men's hockey team will face Australia in their fifth and final league match of the 2014 Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium here Saturday.
India have shown an impressive run of form, winning three of their four group matches, beating New Zealand, Pakistan and Malaysia and losing only to Britain.
"So far, we have successfully implemented our strategies on the field and converted maximum opportunities into goals. Australia are a tough side but our boys are in great form and have shown their mettle in previous matches. It will be more tactical against Australia but we are confident and looking forward to the challenge," Harendra Singh, coach of the team, said Friday, in the build-up to the match.
The team began their campaign beating New Zealand 2-1 but suffered a 0-2 reverse against Britain.
But they recovered from the bump in fantastic fashion, thumping Pakistan 6-0 and outplaying hosts Malaysia 4-2.
Defenders Harmanpreet Singh and Varun Kumar have been India's stellar performers with the former's hat-trick against Malaysia being the highlight of the team's performance.
They are ably supported by forwards Parvinder Singh and Armaan Qureshi, whose intelligent movements and energy helping maintain pressure on opponents.
India will be hoping to capitalise on their aggressiveness while expecting experienced midfielder and captain Harjeet Singh to maintain his sound ball-possession retaining skills against a strong Aussie outfit.