In a sensational display at the end of full time, the Indian team wrested the initiative from the Australians to beat them 4-2 after the match ended in a 2-2 draw in regulation time.
Junior Hockey World Cup: In a sensational display at the end of full time, the Indian team wrested the initiative from the Australians to beat them 4-2 after the match ended in a 2-2 draw in regulation time. The joy and elation that overtook the crowds at the stadium was a sight to see for all.
India, who last won the Junior World Cup way back in 2001 in Hobart, are on a mission to reclaim the title and will face Belgium in the summit clash on Sunday.
The hosts scored two skillful field goals in the second half through Gurjant Singh (42nd minute) and Mandeep Singh (48th) after Australia took the lead through Tom Craig (14th).
But just when it was time to close out the game, the Indian defence conceded a soft goal and Lachlan Sharp (57th) drew level for Australia to take the match into shoot-out after both the teams were locked at 2-2 at the end of regulation time.
In the shoot-out, goalkeeper Vikas Dahiya rose to the occasion and made two fantastic saves to deny Australia’s Matthew Bird and Sharp. The Indians, on the other hand, were clinical in the shoot-out with skipper Harjeet Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Sumit and Manpreet (Jr) finding the back of the net past the Australian custodian.
India pressed hard and minutes later earned two back to back penalty corners but Harmanpreet Singh failed to find the back of the net on both occasions. In the 32nd minute, Varun Kumar found Vikramjit Singh inside the circle but the latter’s shot went straight to Australian goalkeeper Ashleigh Thomas’ pads. The hosts had their best opportunity of the opening half in the next minute when Varun’s long scoop from deep found Simranjeet Singh unmarked inside the circle after an Australian defender fumbled, but the striker pushed wide with only the rival custodian to beat.
And after a fair run in the World Cup the Indian junior hockey team will next be facing Belgium in the finals. After a stunning performance, Belgiun took a 4-3 win over six-time champion Belgium, to make it to the World Cup finals for the first time.
(With inputs from PTI)