Bhubaneswar, Dec 4:
Continuing their domination against hockey world champions Australia, India defeated the Kookaburras 2-0 in a practice match Thursday ahead of the Champions Trophy starting Saturday at the Kalinga Stadium in Odisha’s capital city.
Young penalty corner specialist Gurjinder Singh and speedy forward S.V. Sunil scored the goals for the Sardar Singh-led side.
The Sardar Singh-led team looked focused and gritty and dished out a wonderful performance against defending champions Australia.
The match began in fast-paced manner as both the teams fought hard to take the lead but the first two quarters went goalless. Whereas, the third quarter proved to be rewarding for the Indian men as Gurjinder and Sunil proved their mettle and scored the winning goals.
“For us the most important thing is to look at our own games and we have been consistently trying to improve on a few of our weak areas learning from each match we play,” India’s high performance director and interim coach Roelant Oltmans said.
“We would like to improve game by game and the team did a much better job playing against the No. 1 ranked team Australia. The game gave us a lot of scoring opportunities which in turn helped us to win the match over Australia.”
Speaking on the performance, Indian vice-captain, PR Sreejesh said, “This was our last practice match against Australia and now we are all prepared to give a much better performance in the upcoming tournament. After winning the match against Australia, we have gained a lot of confidence and hope that we end the tournament on a positive note.”
However, Kookaburras coach Graham Reid rued his side’s missed opportunities and said that they will look to improve their game in the next warm-up game against Argentina.
“Every time we play, we strive to do our best. The Indian team has some very good players. They managed to control the game in the third quarter of the match and materialise all the scoring opportunities in their favour,” Reid, who took over from master teactician Ric Charlesworth in September, said.
“We have a practice match on Thursday against Argentina and we will be looking forward to a good game against them.” (IANS)