Melbourne, Nov 29: Young striker Affan Yousuf scored a brace to guide Indian men’s hockey team to a 3-2 win over world champions Australia in the opening match of the two-game series, here today. While Yousuf scored two field goals (19th minute) in quick succession, dragflicker V R Raghunath netted the winner for India in the 44th minute. Australia’s goals came from the sticks of Matthew Willis (36th) and Trent Mitton (43rd). The Indians were quick to get off the blocks and controlled the proceedings early on.
But despite several circle penetrations, both the teams failed to break the deadlock in the first quarter. Yousuf opened the scoring for India in the 19th minute with a wonderfully constructed field goal and then doubled his tally with another field strike in the very next move as India went into halftime firmly in control with a two goal cushion. The second half witnessed a completely different picture as India looked happy to sit back, absorb the pressure and take Australia on the counter.
Australia, on the other hand, were incisive and precise, and drew themselves level via goals from Willis (36th) and Mitton (43rd). India, however, regained their lead a minute later from a penalty corner, which was dully converted by Raghunath. In the final quarter India adopted a cautious approach and managed to hold on to the lead to take a 1-0 lead in the series. The second match of the series will be played tomorrow.