Bhubaneswar: India fought hard before losing 3-4 against Australia's defending champions in the first leg of the FIH Pro League on Friday.
Making their first appearance in the second season of the FIH Pro League, the Indians showed their strength by claiming five straight points against the Netherlands before three more wins in a 2-1 win over Belgium, the World Cup and European championship. The Red Lions resumed with a 3-2 victory in the second game.
But the hosts were made to suffer in the world no.2 before Australia eventually the game lost a close meeting.
Dylan Wotherspoon (6th minute), Tom Wickham (18th), Lachlan Sharp (41st) and Jacob Anderson (42) scored four goals on the field.
India's goals came from sticks of Raj Kumar Pal (36th, 47th) and Rupinder Pal Singh (52nd).
In the victory, Australia moved up to third place in the standings with nine points from five games, while India are behind with eight points on multiple goals.
Australia has shown why they are considered to be one of the most brutal hockey teams in the world, leading the first opportunity in the sixth minute as Wotherspoon defended Sharp's best pass after a well-deserved break. found captain Aran Zalewski.
The Indians tried to recover from the initial panic but were denied by the Australian Defense Force.
Wickham doubled the advantage to Australia with a nice close-range shot, drawing a wonderful pass from Eddie Ockenden in the 18th minute, much to the disappointment of the hosts.
The Kookaburras went into the air with two goals & # 39;
Five minutes into the third half, India got a penalty but Rupinder & # 39; s pulls off a spectacular throw by Jake Harvie.
Minutes later, the hosts regained the lead when Raj Kumar found the net after Rupinder found a shot from a corner by Andrew Charter.
Minutes later, Indian guard Krishan Bahadur Pathak made a nice save to deny Corey Weyer's attempt from the corner.
But Australia continued the pressure and scored twice in two minutes to lead 4-1 comfortably.
In the first half Sharp hit a home run for the first time and Anderson fired a shot from Vivek's body to lead Australia 4-1.
But India despaired and reduced the margin four minutes later when Raj Kumar scored a fine goal on the field, his second of the day.
Eight minutes into the final game, Rupinder gave India hope after converting a penalty corner to make the score 3-4.
Indian legend P R Sreejesh then rescued India, preventing Anderson and Kurt Lovett from getting a better save to keep the hosts alive.
India got a golden opportunity in the final minute of the match when they were awarded a penalty but Rupinder Singh attempted the target.
India and Australia will play in the second match on Saturday.
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