Australian men hand out 4-1 drubbing to India in last league match

The Indian women's team played out a sluggish 1-1 draw against Malaysia on Saturday but it was enough to fetch the side a place in the Lanco International Super Series Hockey 9s final here.

With a draw against the host on Friday and full points against Malaysia on the opening day, India did enough to book a final berth in the three-nation event. India faces Australia in the summit clash on Sunday.

The experienced Jasjeet Handa put India ahead in the fourth minute. India, though, ended up conceding a penalty corner just 10 seconds before the hooter and Rahma Othman Siti converted it for Malaysia to earn her team its first point in the four-day competition.

In the second match Australia beat India 3-2, however the result was of no consequence.

The Indian men's team's hopes of reaching the final went up in smoke after Australia handed it a 4-1 drubbing in the last league match. India now faces Pakistan for the bronze medal on Sunday.

By winning all its matches, Australia entered the final majestically and will battle it out with New Zealand for top honours.

India needed a win to make it to the final but fell short in all departments of the game. Australia went on a scoring spree, while India could reply only once through Sardar Singh.

With just a draw and two loses India finished last in the four-nation event, while with two draws Pakistan came third.

Earlier, Pakistan too failed to make the final. It needed an outright win, but the Kiwis denied the side by holding it to a 1-1 draw.

Pakistan's sixth-minute goal by Shafqat Rasool was cancelled out six minutes later by Joel Baker. The draw was enough for the Kiwis, who thrashed India on the opening day, to make the cut.

India was left to do the chasing act quite early in the match when twice FIH Player of the year Jamie Dwyer put his side ahead in the second minute itself leaving Indian goal-keeper P.R Sreejesh flummoxed.

Australia widened the gap four minutes later, through Russell Ford. The Indians got their act together to some extent after conceding the lead. Medio-turned-attacker Sardar reduced the margin after Gurbaj Singh set him up. Sardar sent in a grounder that whistled past the legs of rival goal-keeper Tristan Clemons.

The faster Australians did not let the momentum slip in the second half even as India played sluggish in this phase of the match.

Desmond Abbott all but ended India's chances with an immaculate push towards the goal and then a minute from close, Dwyer scored his second goal. P.R Sreejesh, who guarded the cage for the entire match, did well in the first half with neat clearances but was let down by forwards who did not score.

Young star Yuvraj Walmiki twice missed out on sitters, both supplied by the hard-working Danish Mujtaba.

Indian forward Tushar Khandekar lamented missing many chances. “We played a good first half, and it was not so in the second,” he said. Regarding the match against Pakistan, Tushar was confident India will put up a good show. “We could not score as many goals we would have liked to against Pakistan, I hope we will work hard to improve things for Sunday,” he said.

The results: Men: Pakistan 1 (Shafqat Rasool) drew with New Zealand 1 (Joel Baker); Australia 4 (Jamie Dwyer (2), Russell Ford, Desmond Abbott) bt India 1 (Sardara Singh).

Women: India 1 (Jasjeet Handa) drew with Malaysia 1 (Rahma Othman Siti); Australia 3 bt India 2.

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