Perth: After remaining unbeaten in their first three matches of the Australia Tour 2019, world no. 5 Indian Mens Hockey team slumped to a 0-4 defeat to the hosts in their fourth match at the Perth Hockey Stadium here on Wednesday.
Australia’s Blake Govers (15′, 60′) and Jeremy Hayward (20′, 59′) scored a brace each to help the World No. 2 team defeat the visitors. India started well as they pressed Australia higher up the field, but were dealt two successive blows as they ended up conceding twice in five minutes.
The visitors had earlier earned themselves an early Penalty Corner (PC) in the 5th minute but Harmanpreet Singh’s shot was successfully blocked. With just seconds remaining on the clock for the first quarter, Australia were awarded their first PC and it resulted in India conceding their first goal. Australia’s Blake Govers stepped up to take the set-piece and did not make a mistake as he hit the ball past P.R. Sreejesh into the top-left corner to give his side a 1-0 lead. India started the second quarter in attacking style as Birendra Lakra played a hard-hit ball into the centre of the circle but Australia’s Captain Eddie Ockenden was present to deflect it behind.
However, on the other end of the pitch, Lakra was in action again and was penalized for a back-stick inside the 15-yard circle, which resulted in a PC in the 20th minute. The resulting execution saw Indian goalkeeper Krishan Pathak give away another PC, and India ended up conceding their second goal as Jeremy beautifully flicked the ball low into the right side of goal.
Aaron Kleinschmidt missed a great chance in the 25th minute as he found himself unmarked inside the box but shot just wide off the post. Struggling to keep possession, India tried to create an opportunity of their own as they earned themselves a PC in the 26th minute, but the umpire deemed that Harmanpreet Singh obstructed the Australian defender and awarded them a free hit.
A minute later, India won their fifth PC through Sumit Kumar but Australia’s Goalkeeper Johan Durst made a brilliant double save from Harmanpreet Singh’s shots to deny the visitors a goal. Australia’s fifth PC in the last minute of the second quarter saw Trent Mitton’s shot forcing a great save by Pathak on his right side, which meant Australia took their two-goal advantage into the half-time break.
The third quarter was a well-balanced period between the two teams as they battled for possession but neither was able to score. India started the last quarter well. Captain Manpreet Singh created the first chance as he ran into the striking circle and shot at the goal but Australia’s Durst made a diving stop on his left side to deny the visitors a goal.
India tried to find a goal in the closing stages and replaced their goalkeeper with an outfield player. The move resulted in Australia scoring two goals in the last two minutes, the first coming off a PC in the 59th minute, scored by Jeremy, while the second came in the last minute as Blake scored through a fierce shot off the reverse stick to make it a 4-0 victory for Australia. (IANS)
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