India go down fighting against Australia in their Sultan Azlan Shah opener
A young and inexperienced Indian side started their 2013 Sultan Azlan Shah campaign with a closely fought 4-3 loss against 2nd ranked Australia. India have fielded a young side, with seniors Sardar Singh, VR Raghunath and SV Sunil rested for the tournament.
Australia made the early charge but they were thwarted by some great saves by custodian PR Sreejesh, who’s been appointed the vice-captain of the side in this tourney. But at the 24th minute mark, as Sreejesh deflected a Penalty Corner attempt, Matt Gohdes latched onto the rebound and scored via a shot into the top of the net. Australia were deserving of the lead after dictating play at the start of the game and maintained the score at 1-0 till halftime.
The start of the 2nd half was brilliant for Australia as some defending errors cost India 2 goals within 4 minutes of the restart. A 38th minute Penalty Corner was converted by Glenn Simpson as Australia tried a variation successfully. Within a minute, Australia found themselves 3-0 ahead as Matt Gohdes deflected in his second goal of the match, which resulted from India’s inability to clear the ball.
But India were given a breather when they earned their first Penalty Corner in the 40th minute and Rupinderpal Singh converted to score India’s first goal of the match and the tournament.
But another youngster Malak Singh didn’t waste the opportunity as from an acute angle in the 41st minute, he shot past Aussie keeper George Bazely and reduced the deficit.
At 3-2, India were looking to get a hold on the match but Australia earned back the two-goal cushion when Trent Mitton converted an Australian PC in the 53rd minute.
In the closing stages of the match, India had a few chances and though Rupinderpal Singh scored in the 68th minute, the charge came a bit too late to change the course of the match.
India would still take a lot of positives from the match as it’s a team without its seniors and full of youngsters who’ll get a lot of exposure and experience playing against the likes of Australia.
Indian fans can expect the team to come up with better results in the games to come as they face 8th ranked Korea in their next match tomorrow.
Australia [Matt Gohdes (24th, 39th), Glenn Simpson (38th) and Trent Mitton (53rd)] defeat India [Rupinderpal Singh (40th, 68th) and Malak Singh (51st)]