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Indian Hockey Team gets a reality check before Paris Olympics, lose opening match vs Australia 1-5

Indian Hockey Team gets a reality check before Paris Olympics, lose opening match vs Australia 1-5

Australia's Tim Brand, Tom Wickham (twice), Joel Rintala, and Flynn Ogilvie found the back of the net, while Gurjant Singh scored the sole goal for the visitors.

In the opening clash of the five-game series in Perth on Saturday, the Indian men’s hockey team suffered a 5-1 defeat against the hosts, Australia. Australia’s Tim Brand, Tom Wickham (twice), Joel Rintala, and Flynn Ogilvie found the back of the net, while Gurjant Singh scored the sole goal for the visitors.

The game kicked off with both sides, both Tokyo Olympic medalists, eager to secure an early advantage. Despite India’s efforts, it was Australia, ranked just below them at world No. 5, who struck first, courtesy of Brand’s early goal.

Australia maintained their dominance, earning consecutive penalty corners, but Indian goalkeeper PR Sreejesh thwarted their attempts to extend their lead. India, too, had their chances, earning a penalty corner in the ninth minute, albeit without converting it into a goal.

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India fail to capitalize in second quarter

The second quarter saw a similar pace, with Australia showcasing superior transition play between attack and defense.India’s skipper, Manpreet Singh, earned a penalty corner in the 18th minute, yet failed to capitalize on the opportunity. Meanwhile, Australia doubled their lead through Wickham’s field goal, capitalizing on a rebound from an initial attempt blocked by the Indian defense.

As the game progressed, Wickham and Rintala further extended Australia’s lead, leaving India trailing by four goals heading into the final quarter.

Despite a spirited effort from India, who managed to pull one back through Gurjant Singh’s goal in the 47th minute, Australia maintained their stronghold, with Ogilvie scoring their fifth goal from a penalty corner ten minutes later.

The Indian men’s hockey team is set to take on Australia once again at the same venue on Sunday. This five-match series, crucial to India’s preparations for the Paris 2024 Olympics, will conclude on April 13.

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