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HWL2015: India goes down 2-6 to Australia (6/29/2015)
--s2h team
After winning two matches and drawing against Pakistan, the Indian Men Hockey team today went down to Australia by 2-6 in their last Pool A league match of the FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final 2015, being played in Antwerp, Belgium. Australia’s Chris Ciriello scored a hat-trick and helped the FIH Rank # 1 team to remain unbeaten in the tournament, leading the Pool with 12 points. On the other hand, India placed at second position in the Pool with seven points and is now looking at their quarter-final clash.

In the first quarter of the match, both the teams started the match with good attack, testing the strength of each other. Australia got the first success in the 8th minute when Jamie Dwyer charged from the right and passed the ball to Aran Zalewski, who smashed the ball toward the goal-box without giving any chance to Indian defenders and taking the lead of 1-0. After conceding the early goal, the Indians counter-attacked from all sides and put a pressure on their opponents. In the 14th minute, Australia charged again with Dwyer and the experienced Australian dribbled-past the Indian defenders before hitting the ball toward the goal-box from the top of the circle. The ball went over goalie Sreejesh and found the nets. With Jamie’s brilliant shot, Australia scored their second goal and increased the lead by 2-0 by the end of the first quarter.

In the second quarter, the teams stepped on the green astro-turf with more aggression. Indian players attacked in the first few minutes and created a few good chances to score goals. The Indian players managed to make some good moves and almost close to score. However, Australian defenders failed their attempts and played with the man-to-man strategy. In the 26th minute, Australia earned a penalty corner and Chris Ciriello hit the shot toward the nets, but Sreejesh hit back the ball. Ciriello's rebound shot this time yielded results. Trailing by 0-3 by this time, India fought back harder and charged with more aggression. They put Aussies in pressure for a few moments and kept on working on their game-plans to score goals. On the other hand, Australia continued with their attacking game and penetrated the Indian circle several times. However, Sreejesh thwarted many chances of the opponents. After a closely-fought battle, the quarter finished at 3-0 in favor of Australia.

In the third quarter, both the teams played with better strategies and new game-plans. The Indians continued with their aggressive game and kept the opponents busy. However, Australia also showcased their fighting spirit and looked for more opportunities to score goals. In the 33rd minute, Australia managed to earn a penalty corner and Ciriello again took the shot. He hit straight into the goal box, beating the Indian defenders, and scored the fourth goal for his team. However in the next minute (34th), India earned a penalty corner and Jasjit Singh Kular took the shot. He smashed the ball hard but Aussie custodian hit back the ball towards the Indian pack. Defender Birendra Lakra received the ball and hit it with a reverse shot to score the first goal for his team. Conceding the goal, the Australians fought back and attacked from the centre again. In the 42nd minute, Australia’s Matt Gohdes charged from the centre and hit the ball toward the goal-box from the top of the circle. His team-mate Kieran Govers, who was standing in front of the goal-box, received the ball and sent it into the nets by beating Sreejesh for the fifth goal. The Australians continued with their quick counter-attacks and kept on creating chances to increase their lead. After two minutes (44th), the Aussie's earned another penalty corner and once again, Ciriello converted it into his hat-trick goal, taking the score-line to 6-1.

In the fourth quarter, the Australians continued their domination and tried to keep the ball in the Indian half. In the 51st minute,the Indians, led by Akashdeep Singh, charged on the Australian side from the left flank. Akashdeep passed the ball to skipper Sardar Singh in the circle, who forwarded the ball to Dharamvir Singh. Dharamvir took the ball to his right and dribbled-past the Aussie goalie before hitting the ball towards the nets. Ramandeep, who was standing near the left goal-post, deflected the shot into the nets. With this brilliant team-work, the Indians reduced the margin to 2-6. By this motivating goal, the Indians charged on with more aggression and played their game in the Australian half. However, Australia denied their attacks and maintained the score-card of 6-2 till the final whistle.

The Quarter-Final round of the FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final 2015 will start on 30th June 2015.

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