Indians go down fighting against Australia in Johor Cup
Johor Bahru (Malaysia): The Indian hockey team fought hard but could not match up to Australia`s firepower, losing 2-3 on day two of the Sultan of Johor Cup for Under-21 boys.
Winger Ramandeep Singh`s brace of goals (24th and 66th minutes) could not fetch points for India as Australia scored through Daniel Beale (7th minute), Josh Walters (29th minute) and Cameron Joyce (50th minute) to edge past.
Indians got many chances to score the equaliser in the last five minutes but inexperience cost them as they recorded their second defeat in as many days, which dents their chances of figuring in the medal matches of the six-nation event.
India will next meet Pakistan on Tuesday which, like India, have last both the games it played so far.
India and Australia showcased an exciting brand of hockey throughout the match, with both sides matching each other`s moves.
India did not seem to have been intimidated by the reputation of their rivals. Shortly after Satbir failed to connect a cross, India got their first penalty corner in the second minute, but Sampath Kumar`s shot was wide.
In the seventh minute, Australia came up with a stunner. through Beale, who received a pass at the top of circle, turned and sent in a powerful reverse shot that reached home (1-0).
Two minutes later India survived a scare when Brodie Sarre failed to push the ball full length off its first penalty corner, leaving Walmiki to clear from danger area.
Satbir sprinted from the right flank and sent a diagonal pass to Ramandeep Singh, but he hastened his shot. However, he made amends in the next minute connecting a free-hit from right flag area (1-1).
But India soon gave away an easy goal when keeper Harmanpreet Singh kicked a shot feebly and the clearance of it by Devinder Walmiki was feebler.
Josh Walters, lurking there, gently pushed the ball to the right of Harman, once again giving the lead to Australia.
Shoddy defence led to Australia gaining their fourth penalty corner. William Shaw took the shot, Indian goalie Harmanpreet blocked and fell, but Cameron tapped in the rebound, as no defender was there to cover the cage.
The Indians did not give up and created chances but they were lost to poor finishing.
Shortly after failing to connect a cross, Ramandeep Singh sent the ball to the right corner of the cage.
At that time, the Australians had been reduced to 10 after Josh Walters was yellow-carded.
The match turned slightly ill-tempered in the last five minutes when Devinder Walmiki and Amit Rohidas got yellow cards in that spell.
"This is a classic India-Australia match with skills on display, we as a team thoroughly enjoyed it," winning team coach Paul Goudin said.
India coach Mukesh Kumar lamented the boys did not translate their field superiority into goals.
"We had enough chances, but could not finish. We could have got at least two penalty corners and a field goal. But due to lack of experience, our players gave away those chances," he explained.
"Overall, I blame the midfield for the goals conceded," he said.