Johor Bahru, Malaysia, 26 October 2017: The Indian Junior Men’s Hockey team lost 3-4 to Australia in a high scoring encounter in their fourth match of the 7th Sultan of Johor Cup 2017 at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium here today. Dilpreet Singh (30’, 47’) and Sanjay (9’) scored for India in the match but goals from Joel Rintala (3’), Coby Green (36’), Jonathan Bretherton (45’) and Nathan Ephraums (49’) were enough for Australia to secure the victory.
Australia dominated the proceedings in the initial stages of the first quarter as they attacked the Indian defence to start on a bright note. This resulted in the Australians winning a penalty corner in the 3rd minute of the match which was well converted by Joel Rintala to give his side the lead. However, after conceding an early goal, the Indian team stepped up their efforts in the latter half of the first quarter and won themselves a penalty corner in the 9th minute which was finished off by Sanjay to level the scores at 1-1.
The game was very well balanced between the two sides throughout the second quarter as both the defences showed resilience to keep out the efforts. However, in the last minute before the half-time hooter, a misplaced pass from the Australians led to beautiful counter-attacking play from the Indian side meant that Dilpreet Singh scored from just inside the circle with a fiercely struck shot to give India a 2-1 lead at half-time.
In the third quarter though, Australia focused on getting an equalizer by controlling the rhythm of the play and attacking the Indian defence with some fast-paced passing. This meant that the Australians finally managed to convert another penalty corner in the 36th minute when Coby Green found himself free in front of goal after the drag-flick was not successfully executed by his teammates. Australia then scored again in the 45th minute to take a 3-2 lead when another unsuccessfully executed penalty corner was followed up by a well taken shot on goal by Jonathan Bretherton.
In the last quarter, it was India who had to put pressure on the Australian defence to find an equalizer, and they did so successfully when a long pass to forward Dilpreet Singh was calmly finished off by him to level the scores in the 47th minute. However, India could only stay level at 3-3 for two minutes as Australia’s Nathan Ephraums converted a penalty corner in the 49th minute to give Australia a 4-3 lead. India tried to equalize yet again in the last ten minutes of the match, but their efforts were kept out by a resolute Australian defence which meant that Australia won the match by a score-line of 4-3.
India will now face Great Britain in their fifth match of 7th Sultan of Johor Cup 2017 on Saturday, 28th October 2017 at 13.35 hrs IST.