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Men's FIH Pro League 2020: Feisty Indians win shootout against Australia

Harmanpreet Singh scored his first goal of the Pro League 2020 Image Courtesy: Hockey India
Harmanpreet Singh scored his first goal of the Pro League 2020 Image Courtesy: Hockey India
Modified 22 Feb 2020

It took a pulsating shootout to determine the winner of the second match of the Pro League double-header between India and Australia after the two sides were locked 2-2 at the end of regulation time.

The Indians held their nerve in the tie-breaker to register a historic win against their arch-rivals and also got a bonus point for winning the shootout on a day which clearly did not belong to the Australians.

It isn't often that a team has not one, but a couple of goals disallowed but the Australians found the back of the net twice only to have the score reversed - and Tim Brand, inexplicably, found the post off a penalty stroke early in the third quarter while Daniel Beale missed another stroke during the shootout.

Sreejesh was called into action early as the Aussies very nearly scored in less than 30 seconds - an effort from open play was followed by another via a PC but the Indian custodian stood tall under the bar to ensure that the scores remained level.

The Aussies thought they had scored off a PC deflection midway through the first quarter but Sreejesh felt he was obstructed and the video umpire concurred.

Tim Brand made a timely interception to deny Ramandeep Singh a touch after Manpreet had sent a stinging cross in from the right flank - the striker from Punjab then found a deflection soon after but was off target.

Amit Rohidas found an unmarked Jarmanpreet Singh who failed to find the target but had Lovell diving full length before the Aussies won a fifth PC which came to nought.

Krishan Pathak seemed to have the angle covered at the near post but Trent Mitton fired one in between the Indian keeper's pads to open the account for the defending champions in the 23rd minute.

Ramandeep in action Image Courtesy: FIH
Ramandeep in action Image Courtesy: FIH

Simranjeet Singh earned India's first PC with five minutes to go for half-time and Rupinder Pal Singh made no mistake with the drag flick finding a way through Lovell's pads.


Hardik Singh's brilliant run then got the Indians another short corner and Harmanpreet Singh scored his first goal of the Pro League 2020 to put the Indians ahead with a lethal strike in the 27th minute.

Graham Reid's boys left the pitch with the scoreline reading 2-1 in favour of the home side after the Australians had failed to convert half a dozen PCs with the Indians having converted 2 out off 3 short corners in the first half.

The kookaburras had yet another goal disallowed after the long break with the video umpire ruling that the ball was played dangerously following a PC strike and Tim Brand then missed a penalty stroke in the 33rd minute.

The Australians restored parity with Aran Zalewski beating Krishan Pathak all ends up in the 46th minute after the pace of the match had slackened a fair bit.

Ramandeep Singh was in the thick of the action in the final quarter but failed to make it count. Young Raj Kumar Pal left the pitch with a bruised eye while Trent Mitton did the same with a bruised lip.

Vivek Prasad took a tumble before failing to latch on to a long ball at the far post and Tyler Lovell came to his side's rescue after Nilakanta got a powerful tomahawk on target.

The Australians tried a clever variation off a short corner with 11 seconds left on the clock but failed to convert and the match headed into a shootout.


Daniel Beale missed the first shootout but the Aussies won a stroke and Matt Dawson just about got the better of Sreejesh who dived the right way.

Harmanpreet scored for the Indians who conceded another penalty stroke but Daniel Beale shot wide.

Lalit gave India the lead after Nathan Ephraums missed and Jake Harvie failed to get the ball into the net within the stipulated eight seconds.

Both sided managed 9 shots each on target but the Aussies wasted 9 PCs and a couple of strokes much to the delight of the massive crowd at the Kalinga Stadium.

India and Australia now have 10 points each from 6 matches although the Aussies are third in the points table with a better goal difference.

The Belgians are on top of the heap with 14 points from 6 games while the Dutch are second with 11 points from as many matches.

The Indians play Germany next in an away fixture on April 25th and 26th.

Published 22 Feb 2020, 21:25 IST
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