The Indian men’s hockey team could not hold the fort against mighty Australia and went down 7-0 in the final of the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham, UK, on Monday.
Blake Govers (9’), Nathan Ephraums (14’, 42’), Jacob Anderson (22’) Tom Wickham (26’), Jacob Anderson (27’) and Flynn Ogilvie (46’) scored the goals for Australia at the University of Birmingham Hockey and Squash Centre.
This was India’s third loss to all-time CWG champions Australia in the final of the Commonwealth Games. India made back-to-back finals in 2010 and 2014 but lost to Australia on both occasions by heavy margins of 8-0 and 4-0, respectively.
Harmanpreet Singh, India’s top-scorer at CWG 2022 with nine goals, was also kept quiet on Monday as India failed to earn even a single penalty corner.
The Australians started the prowl with pace and intensity and almost got into the lead in the second minute only to be denied by PR Sreejesh’s stick work.
India’s first rusher Amit Rohidas then deflected the ball off the penalty corner in the next minute to keep Australia at bay.
The Australians continued to play free-flowing hockey and were finally rewarded in the ninth minute with their penalty corner expert Blake Govers flicking it between the legs of PR Sreejesh.
The Indians conceded the second goal with a minute to play in the first quarter. The Australian midfield pierced the Indian defence and Flynn Ogilvie once again found space between the legs of PR Sreejesh. Nathan Ephraums then got the final touch to make it 2-0 for the defending champions.
Australia pumped in three more goals in the second quarter to put the game beyond India’s reach. Also, India, already playing without midfielder Vivek Sagar Prasad, suffered a major blow after captain Manpreet Singh and Aran Zalewski collided in the 25th minute.
PR Sreejesh saved numerous Australian attempts coming off the line but in the absence of a resolute Indian defence, Australia’s Jacob Anderson through a penalty corner in the 22nd minute, Tom Wickham and Jacob Anderson through field goals in the 26th and 27th minute, made it 5-0 for Australia.
Australia controlled 55 per cent of the ball possession in the first half with 20 circle penetrations. India, meanwhile, could not capitalise on their nine circle penetrations.
Despite captain Manpreet Singh walking off, India did well to concede just one goal in the third quarter.
Flynn Ogilvie provided Nathan Ephraums with a precise long ball in the 42nd minute, which was easily converted into Australia’s sixth.
India started making more interceptions in the fourth quarter but the Indian forwards, including Mandeep Singh, lacked the conviction to put it past the goalkeeper.
Flynn Ogilvie and Nathan Ephraums then swapped roles in the 46th minute to make it 7-0 for Australia. Nathan Ephraums provided the pass to Timothy Brand inside the D and found the stick of Flynne Ogilvie, who made no mistake in slotting it past PR Sreejesh.
Earlier, the Indian women’s hockey team beat 2018 CWG champions New Zealand to claim a bronze medal on Sunday.