Indian U-21s will look to end league stage on a high against Australia tomorrow in the Sultan of Johor Cup
Despite making it to the finals, the Indian men’s national junior team will look to put on a strong showing against Australia in their final league match in the 5th Sultan of Johor Cup tomorrow. India are two-time defending champions and are atop their table with nine points, followed by Great Britain with eight points and Argentina with seven points, reports NDTV.
India began the tournament on a perfect note, with almost a clean sweep over arch-rivals Pakistan. After their 5-1 win in the opener, India lost a hard-fought contest to the tenacious Great Britan, but redeemed themselves with two back-to-back wins against Argentina (3-2) and hosts Malaysia (2-1).
Led by midfielder Harjeet Singh and mentored by veteran coach Harendra Singh, the clash with Australia will be just the kind of preparation the young team needs before heading into the final on Sunday.
The Yellows have been quite lacklustre thus far in the six-nation tournament, managing just one win in their four matches. They have their backs to the wall in the final match and must win at all costs to kept afloat their chances for a bronze medal. Might we see the famous Aussie grit when it’s most needed?
Regardless of the fact that they have cemented a spot in the finals, coach Harendra Singh wants the team to avoid complacency and keep the pressure on the Aussies, saying “We are in a good position, and we are not taking it lightly. The boys are hungry to defend the championship title and they are not ready to let any moment go out of their hand. Our goals for and against are proof of our hunger to defend the title. Australia is a tough team and we are preparing hard to finish off our league matches on a winning note.”
The young Blue sticks have notched up the most goals in the tournament so far with thirteen going under the bar. Sumit Kumar leads the pack in scoring, with three, while Armaan Qureshi and Harmanpreet Singh follow with two goals apiece.
Will the Indians justify their coming into the tournament as favourites by making it a hat-trick of titles?