Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Resolute India lose 2-4 to Australia

This piece was published in Sportskeeda

It was always going to be a tough ask matching the world champions Australia, but much to our surprise the Terry Walsh-coached Indian outfit exuded plenty of resolve, especially in defence holding their much superior opponents goalless in the first fifteen minutes of play. But it did not take the Kookaburras to hit their straps as they surged ahead in the 16th minute through a Chris Ciriello penalty corner goal. Like it happens in most Australia games, one goal leads to another and it exactly happened that way when Simon Orchard made it 2-0 in the 19th minute.

India had their best chance to score when Ramandeep Singh messed it up when he only had the Aussie goalie Andrew Charter to beat. A cardinal Rupinder Pal Singh defensive gaffe allowed Jacon Whetton to score the third goal in the 28th minute.

Rupinder made amends later when he converted India’s second short corner on the stroke of half-time after wasting the first one with the Sardar Singh-led side getting the much-needed lift close to the break.

India asked more questions the Australian defence in the second half and they were rewarded when Ramandeep Singh atoned for his first-half blemish, making the scoreline 3-2.

The Kookaburras widened the gap when Chris Ciriello made it 4-2 converting a penalty stroke, beating the defences of PR Sreejesh, who had an outstanding day coming up with a string of superb saves. The Indian shot stopper kept out all PCs of Australia in the second half and was to some extent responsible for his side staying competitive.

India now play South Africa in their final league game on July 31 – a draw over them should be enough to reach the semifinals.

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