The Indian men’s hockey team ended their tour Down Under with a 2-5 loss to world no.2 Australia in the fifth and final match in Perth on Friday. Trent Mitton (11th and 24th minutes), Flynn Ogilvie (3rd), Blake Govers (28th) and Tim Brand (43rd) scored for the hosts while Nilakanta Sharma (12th) and Rupinderpal Singh (53rd) registered their names on the scoresheet for India. The visitors had the opening chance in the match, but it was cleared by Eddie Ockenden, while on the counter Australia forced Indian goalkeeper Krishan Pathak to make a brilliant save towards his left side as deflected it outside for a long corner. The following seconds saw Australia score the opening goal of the match in the 3rd minute as Ogilvie managed to get the final touch.
The 8th minute saw Mandeep Singh win a penalty corner for India, but the resulting execution was wasted as Nilakanta Sharma could not trap the ball properly. This meant Australia broke on the counter but only for Rupinderpal Singh to return back and clear the ball away. Australia won their first penalty corner in the 10th minute, but the shot was blocked by India and cleared away. However, the next minute saw India play out a loose ball from the back which was lost by Gurinder Singh, and it was Australia’s Mitton who took advantage as he found himself in space on the left flank and fired the ball past Pathak to make it 2-0.
However, India were quick to respond as Gursahibjit played a pass into the circle from the left flank, and it was Indian midfielder Nilakanta who got the last touch to put the ball into the back of the net and pull a goal back in the 12th minute. The first few minutes of the second quarter were quiet for both the teams, but it was India who found the opening chance in the 19th minute when Mandeep Singh’s deflection went over the bar.
India maintained possession in the second quarter and had another chance in the 23rd minute when Vivek Sagar Prasad played a quick ball into the circle, but Mandeep could not collect it. Mitton found himself in a great position on the right side of the striking circle as Joshua Simmonds played a great pass to him, and Mitton turned and fired the ball past PR Sreejesh into the back of the net to make it 3-1 after 24 minutes.
In the 29th minute, Gurinder Singh was dubiously fined for a push inside the 16-yard line by the umpire, and the resulting penalty corner saw Blake Govers fire a shot past Sreejesh’s left side into the back of the net to make it 4-1 at the half-time. The third quarter saw Australia maintain possession but were not able to create any opportunities in the opening few minutes. The 40th minute saw Blake Govers run down the right flank beating a few defenders but could not keep his shot on target, while on the other end, India struggled to stitch passes together.
In the 43rd minute, Armaan Qureshi had a glorious chance to score India’s second goal but Johan Durst made a fine save on his left side, and it was Australia who managed to score on the counter as Tim Brand pushed the ball past Pathak to make it 5-1 with just one quarter to play. India needed to score heavily in the last quarter and they tried to create chances but the Australian defence made sure that they did not give them space in the circle.
It was only in the 53rd minute that India managed to score their second goal as Rupinderpal converted a penalty corner as he fired the ball past Durst’s left side to make it 5-2. The Indian team tried to create a few more chances in the remaining minutes, but could not score.