Antwerp: After securing a 2-2 draw against Pakistan in the last game, the Indian men’s hockey team went down 2-6 against Australia in the final game of the pool phase of the 10-nation Hockey World League (HWL) Semi-Final at the Brasschaat Municipal Park here on Sunday.
With the win, Australia finished at the top of Pool A with 12 points from four games while India were in second spot with seven points from as many games, followed by Pakistan, France and Poland.
Australia dominated the proceedings throughout the match as Chris Ciriello scored a hat-trick while Jamie Dwyer, Aran Zalewski, and Kieran Govers scored one each to seal the victory for their side. Birendra Lakra and Ramandeep Singh got onto the scoresheet for the Indians.
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 Dwyer charged from the right and passed the ball to Zalewski, who smashed the ball toward the goal-box without giving any chance to Indian defenders and taking a 1-0 lead.
In the 14th minute, Australia charged again. With Dwyer’s brilliant shot, Australia scored their second goal to increase their lead.
In the second quarter, the teams stepped on the green astro-turf with more aggression. In the 26th minute, Australia earned a penalty corner and 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.
In the third quarter, both the teams played with better strategies and new game-plans. 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 scoring 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.
In the 42nd minute, Australia scored their fifth goal via Govers, who standing in front of the goal-box, received the ball and sent it into the nets by beating Sreejesh.
The Australians continued with their quick counter-attacks and kept on creating chances to increase their lead. After two minutes (44th), the Aussies 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, in the 51st minute with this brilliant team-work, the Indians reduced the margin to 2-6 with Ramandeep Singh’s goal.
The quarter-final round of the Hockey World League Semi-Final 2015 will start on June 30.