Australia put on a clinic against India to bring home a comfortable six-goal win, continuing their search for Olympic gold in 2020 at Oi Hockey Stadium. For all your Tokyo 2020 coverage, stay tuned to The Inner Sanctum’s Olympic hub and the Olympics Central.
After yesterday’s shaky encounter against Japan, they were keen to lock in a second win to top the pool’s table. However, it was no easy task as India was fresh off a one-goal victory against New Zealand were and also striving for that desired number one spot.
India, which is ranked fourth in the world hockey rankings, was ready to bring their all against the top-ranked side Australia, only to leave with their tails between their legs and a completely undone and exposed defence.
Early on, both sides showed plenty of intent but did not take any shots on goal until India was awarded the first penalty corner. Captain Harmanpreet Singh misfired, sending the ball into the top of the net – a prohibited action when having the first strike at goal.
10 minutes in, Australia managed to have three consecutive shots on goal, with Joshua Beltz kicking it off, with his strike saved by goalkeeper Sreejesh Parattu Raveendran.
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Blake Govers struck next, but was unsuccessful, however it was third time lucky as Daniel Beale exploited a penalty corner and the slightest of touches from Jake Whetton to record Australia’s first for today.
India, who were desperate to fire back, worked the ball down their end, where Nilakanta Sharma’s attempt was thwarted by Andrew Charter.
From both sides, there were a few more shots at goal, including a narrow miss from Lachlan Sharp and penalty corner goal from Rupinder Pal Singh denied by clever play from Flynn Ogilvie, but none converted, giving Australia a one-goal lead over India into quarter time.
The play was kept in Australia’s attacking area for most of the second corner, with all six of the attempts taken by Australia.
In the 21st minute, the Indian goalkeeper executed two exceptional saves to hold Trent Mitton goalless. However, there was nothing he could do to stop the ball from hitting his teammate’s body, and consequently, stop a penalty corner from being awarded.
This was costly, as Jeremy Hayward capitalised on the opportunity, drag-flicking the ball into the back of the net to score Australia’s second. Ogilvie followed not that long after being set up by Govers, as did Beltz, courtesy of a Tim Brand set up.
Not only was India’s defence crumbling under relentless pressure from Australia, but forward Dilpreet Singh was given a green card after a minor incident with Aussie Captain Eddie Ockenden.
Half time came at the perfect time for India, who had no answers for the carnage happening in front of them, and were in desperate need to reset heading into the second half.
The second half commenced with India earning four penalty corners, which they could not convert, even with Aran Zalewski green carded and Australia a player down.
During this time, Dilpreet Singh returned from his two-minute sideline stint to score a consolation goal for India.
From that point, India could not get the result needed from two more shots before the ball made its way to Australia’s end where it seemed to remain for the rest of the match, and Ogilvie had another two shots.
Govers laid two more blows, a penalty stroke which bamboozled the keeper, and a drag flick which evaded the defenders and keeper. Heading into the break with a five-goal lead, the match was sealed in Australia’s favour.
One last goal came from Brand, who gathered an overhead delivery from Govers and snuck past Sreejesh before sending it home from a tight angle. After taking off and running alone, Sharp, searched for one last goal, hoping to make up for his earlier missed attempt.
It was truly a dominant display from the Kookaburras as they made a statement and asserted themselves as top dogs and the team to beat in Pool A.
As for India, they have a day to reset and regroup before it takes on Spain this Tuesday.
Australia takes on Rio gold medallists, Argentina in a must-win clash on the same day.
Final Result: Australia 7 – India 1
Australia goals: Beale 10′, Hayward 21′, Ogilvie 23′, Beltz 26′, Govers 40′, 42′, Brand 51′
India goals: D Singh 34′
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