Hockey World League Finals | India start their campaign with 1-1 draw against Australia

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Hockey World League Finals | India start their campaign with 1-1 draw against Australia

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SportsCafe Desk

12/02/2017

India played out a thrilling 1-1 draw against Australia in the opening game of the Hockey World League Finals in Odisha yesterday. Mandeep Singh handed the hosts the lead in the second quarter but Jeremy Hayward, via a penalty corner, equalized a few minutes later to end the game as a draw.

India started the game on a positive note as they showed attacking intent against the defending Champions early which surprised the latter's defence. SV Sunil started the attack, along with Gurjant Singh, whose reverse hit was blocked by Australian keeper Tyler Lovell. Australia replied with a counterattack but it wasn't a threatening one and India were able to hold the Aussies off without too much trouble.

But it was India who looked like the more dangerous team as Harmanpreet Singh sent a long pass to Matthew Shawn, via Akashdeep, but Lovell was upto the challenge again. Lovell appeared to be in inspired form as he stopped Gurjant and then a penalty corner to keep the hosts at bay. However, Australia were growing into the game and in the 11th minute were awarded their first penalty corner but Akash Chikte’s alertness kept the scoreline level.

All of India's hard work paid off five minutes into the second quarter thanks to Mandeep Singh. Manpreet, playing in midfield, sent in a perfect ball to Sunil, who in turn pushed the ball forward to Mandeep who put the ball past Lovell to hand India a 1-0 lead. But the lead did not last long as the hosts converted a penalty corner through Jeremy Hayward in the 21st minute to ensure the first half ended on level pegging.

The third quarter saw both the team conceding penalty corners but both failed to convert them. Akashdeep had several chances to put the hosts ahead but after missing on regular occasions the attacker looked frustrated for the remainder of the game. In the fourth and final quarter, was yet another cagey affair and the game eventually ended as a draw.

India will face England in their next game in Saturday while Australia will play Germany.

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