-India goes down fighting 1-2
Bhubaneswar, 14 December 2014: Australia has claimed the Bronze medal at the Hero Men’s Champions Trophy in Bhubaneswar over host nation India. Matt Gohdes hit the winner eight minutes from time to give The Kookaburras their 28th Champions Trophy medal.
Following their respective semi-final defeats at the hands of Germany and Pakistan, both sides started the game clearly determined to end their Hero Men’s Champions Trophy campaign on a high. The Kookaburras had the better of the early exchanges, although India’s Akashdeep Singh saw his promising strike sail wide of the target.
Australia captain Eddie Ockenden gave his team the lead early in the second quarter with a cool finish from close range following a smart exchange of passes with Jacob Whetton. India bounced back in typical fashion and created numerous chances, while goalkeeper PR Sreejesh produced some outstanding saves to deny the Aussies a second goal before half time.
India dragged themselves back into the match when Lalit Upadhyay forced home a penalty corner from close range following some fine defending from the Australian back-line. The goal drew wild celebrations from the watching capacity crowd, and set up a thrilling final quarter.
SV Sunil missed a great chance for India before Gohdes produced a poachers’ finish to give The Kookaburras a 2-1 advantage with eight minutes remaining. India threw everything at their opponents in the final stages, but the Australian defence held firm to seal the Bronze medal.
Speaking post the loss Indian Captain Sardar Singh said, “We ended in the 4th position while we were aiming for the finals. The tournament is a learning experience for us and we will go back and work on our mistakes. On yesterday’s episode, what happened was not acceptable especially in front of a crowd who has been supporting the game and have been here every day to watch the matches. This is the best stadium where I have played an international match till date and I will look forward to more international tournaments being held on this ground. I would thank the crowd here who has been very supportive”.
Speaking on the team’s performance Roelant Oltmans, High Performance Director said “It was a good match, overall I am pleased with the performance of the Indian team. Yesterday we were very close but if you don’t take up opportunities it’s very difficult to win. This time we managed to gain fourth position in a situation where big teams failed to do so. We have learned many things from this tournament”
Speaking on the 4th position Australia Captain Eddie Ockenden said, “It was a difficult match; we strived very hard to win this match. It was entertaining and I am happy with the team’s performance. Unfortunately, being a number one team this time we made through the third position. It’s a learning experience. I must say India is a hockey loving country. It would be a treat for them if they would have won yesterday and would have played the finals today”.