India took a big step towards a place in the final after beating Australia 5-1

Satwant Singh

India took a big step towards a place in Saturday’s final as they demolished fellow contenders Australia 5-1 at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium.

Both the teams needed the three points to stay in contention for the place in the final.

However as India showed composure and determination, the Aussies were a pale shadow of teams that bring glory to the top Hockey nation.

“ It is not often that we score a big win over Australia,” said Indian coach BJ Kariapa.

“ Now we need one point from our final match against Britain on Friday.

“ We mat have one foot in the final but it’s never a certainty and we need to focus for Friday’s match.”

India were surprisingly defeated by Japan 4-3 the previous day and had to win to stay in contention for a place in the final,

Whereas Australia who lost 1-0 to Great Britain were in a must win situation to add to their four points from three matches

Hence it was only to be expected that both teams were unwilling to take risks early on with numbers behind the ball when losing possession.

But India threw down the gauntlet and started being more offensive, pushing numbers forward and were duly rewarded with two field goals.

Two goals by Shilanand Lakra in the 26th and 29th minutes gave India a 2-0 halftime lead

In a six minute spell, India scored three times to put the match out of reach.

Dilpreet Singh ( 44th minute), Gurshanijit Singh ( 48th minute) and Mandeep Mor ( 50th minute) accounted for the goals and India had the crucial three points in the bag.

Australia scored a consolation three minutes via Aaron Knight .

“ We lost to a better team and that’s a fact,” said Aussie coach Ben Bishop.

“ The boys tried their best but we were up against a good team who took their chances well.

“We need to get a positive result against New Zealand Friday on end up playing for the wooden spoon.”

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