Saturday, 23 March, 2019


Sultan Azlan Shah Cup: Australia outclass India despite Ramandeep Singh's late brace

Ramandeep Singh Ramandeep Singh's brace reduced the margin for India. Hockey India
Bennie Garza | 06 March, 2018, 21:36

Following an opening-round defeat by Australia and a late draw against India, the win leaves England on four points from three games.

But it would be easier said than done as Australia have fielded a strong squad and are in red-hot form while the Indians have come here with an inexperienced team under the leadership of Sardar Singh.

However, India's efforts on goal were either saved or blocked by the English defence. But they failed to come out on top and lost the game 2-4 despite putting up a good fight.

Australian built on their lead and dominated the proceedings, keeping the ball for longer stints finding space in the Indian circle.

Three minutes later, Blake had his drag-flick being pushed away by Karkera but the ball fell in front of him.

The final quarter saw India vie for a great comeback with Ramandeep scoring two back-to-back goals in two minutes, giving India slim hopes. Australia comfortably 4-0 up.

Ramandeep's cross from byline for Sumit Kumar, lurking in front of the Australian goal-post, was guided in by defender Jeremy Hayward in the 51st minute.

The Indian team has looked like a pale shadow of its glorious past in this tournament, wasting numerous chances including as many as nine penalty corners against England in their second game. There were no further slip-ups from Australia's end as they completed their third win on the bounce. Sjoerd Marijne-coached India are fifth in the table with a point.

With seconds to go before the second hooter, India won the first PC of the match but the opportunity went begging with young dragflicker Varun Kumars shot rebounding off the cross bar.

A favourable result against the world champions would brighten India's chances as they next play hosts Malaysia and minnows Ireland in their last two round-robin fixtures.

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