India juniors lost their first match when they were pipped 3-4 by Australia in a high-scoring fourth round robin league encounter at the 7th Sultan of Johor Cup hockey tournament on Thursday. The defeat came a day after India had hammered United States of America 22-0 in their third league encounter.
Dilpreet Singh (30th min, 47th min) and Sanjay (9th min) scored for India in the match but goals from Joel Rintala (3th min), Coby Green (36th min), Jonathan Bretherton (45th min) and Nathan Ephraums (49th min) were enough for Australia to secure the victory.
Australia dominated the proceedings in the initial stages of the first quarter as they attacked the Indian defence to start on a bright note.
This resulted in the Australians winning a penalty corner in the 3rd minute of the match which was well converted by Joel Rintala to give his side the lead.
However, after conceding an early goal, the Indian team stepped up their efforts in the latter half of the first quarter and won themselves a penalty corner in the 9th minute, which was finished off by Sanjay to level the scores at 1-1.
The game was very well balanced between the two sides throughout the second quarter as defenders of both the teams showed resilience to keep out the efforts.
However, in the last minute before the half-time hooter, a mis-pass from the Australian side led to beautiful counter- attack from India with Dilpreet Singh's fiercely struck shot giving India a 2-1 lead.
In the third quarter though, Australia focussed on getting an equalizer, controlled the proceedings with some quick passes.
The Australians finally managed to convert another penalty corner in the 36th minute when Coby Green found himself free in front of goal after the drag-flick was not successfully executed by his teammates.
Australia then scored again in the 45th minute to take a 3-2 lead when another unsuccessfully executed penalty corner was followed up by a well-taken shot by Jonathan Bretherton.
In the last quarter, it was India got the equalizer when Dilpreet calmly levelled scores latching onto a long pass.
However, India could only stay level at 3-3 for two minutes as Australia's Nathan Ephraums converted a penalty corner in the 49th minute to give Australia a 4-3 lead.
India will now face Great Britain in their fifth match on October 28.
(With PTI Inputs)