Raipur: The Indian senior men’s hockey team gave a display of their class winning the third and final test of the three match test series against Australia 3-2 in a theatrical finish. A goal in the last few seconds by Akashdeep Singh sealed India’s win in the final test. VR Raghunath and Rupinder Pal Singh were the other scorers for India. The winner of the series was decided through a penalty shoot-out which was won by Australia (3-2).
The match also marked Rupinder Pal Singh’s 50th goal in his international career. The three match series which is the pre cursor to the much awaited Hero Hockey World League Final 2015 was being played at the newly inaugurated Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel International Stadium, Raipur.
The Indian team today began on a defensive note, creating a strong wall, keeping the Australian attack at bay. PR Sreejesh along with the Indian defence saved some fierce attacks from the world champions in the second quarter of the game. India like other days drew the first blood through a penalty corner which was beautifully converted by VR Raghunath in the 17th minute. This began a series of attacks from both sides but the goalkeepers at both ends did a fabulous job. The first half came to an end with India leading 1-0.
The second half began with Australia levelling the score to 1-1 through Trent Mitton’s field goal in the 36th minute. India came back strongly soon after to take a much needed lead in the game through Rupinder Pal Singh in the 41st minute. This goal also marked Rupinder’s 50th goal in his international career. The game there after saw many attacks from the world champions but the Indian defence showed their class today restricting the visitors from scoring.
However a moment of error in the 53rd minute from the Indian defence led to Australia’s advantage as they levelled the score to 2-2, with Trent Mitton scoring again. India thereafter picked up pace but the visitors stood like a wall not allowing the Indians to score. It was only in the last minute of the match, when Akashdeep surprised the Australian’s to score a fantastic goal, helping India win the match 3-2. With India’s win the three match series winner was decided through a penalty shoot-out, which was won by the visitors 3-2.
Birendra Lakra and Rupinder Pal Singh from India scored in the shoot-out, while Sardar Singh, Akashdeep Singh and V Raghunath missed from scoring. Daniele Beale, Matt Gohdes and Chris Ciriello scored for Australia in the shoot out.
“I am happy that we won today’s match. It is good for the team as we enter the Hero Hockey World League with a lot of confidence. We have a few days before the tournament starts and we intend to devote time addressing our grey areas,” said Director High Performance and Chief Coach Indian Men Team, Roelant Oltmans.
The Hero Hockey World League finals will be played at the Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel International Stadium, Raipur from the 27th November – 6th December 2015.