Johor Bahru (Malaysia), Oct 26 (IANS) The Indian junior men’s hockey team lost 3-4 to Australia in a high scoring encounter in their fourth match of the 7th Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium here on Thursday.
Dilpreet Singh (30th and 47th minutes) and Sanjay (9th) scored for India but goals from Joel Rintala (3rd), Coby Green (36th), Jonathan Bretherton (45th) and Nathan Ephraums (49th) were enough for Australia to win.
Australia dominated the proceedings initially as they attacked the Indian defence to start on a bright note. This resulted in the Australians winning a penalty corner in the 3rd minute, which was well converted by Rintala.
After conceding an early goal, the Indians stepped up their efforts in the latter half of the first quarter and won a penalty corner in the 9th minute which was finished off by Sanjay to level the score at 1-1.
The game was well balanced throughout the second quarter as both defences showed resilience.
However, in the last minute before the half-time hooter, a misplaced pass from the Australians led to a beautiful counter-attack from the Indian side. Dilpreet scored from just inside the circle with a fiercely struck shot to give India a 2-1 lead at half-time.
In the third quarter, Australia focused on getting an equaliser by controlling the rhythm of the play and attacking the Indian defence with some fast-paced passing.
They finally managed to convert another penalty corner in the 36th minute when Reen found himself free in front of the goal after the drag-flick was not successfully executed by his teammates.
Australia scored again in the 45th minute to take a 3-2 lead when another unsuccessfully executed penalty corner was followed up by a well taken shot on goal by Bretherton.
In the last quarter, it was India which put pressure on the Australian defence to find an equaliser. They did so successfully when a long pass to forward Dilpreet was calmly finished off by him in the 47th minute.
However, India could only stay level at 3-3 for two minutes as Australia’s Ephraums converted a penalty corner in the 49th minute to give Australia a 4-3 lead.
India tried to equalise yet again in the last 10 minutes of the match but their efforts were kept out by a resolute Australian defence.
India will now face Britain in their fifth match on Saturday.