An injury-hit India proved no match to defending champions Australia as it lost 0—3 in a lop-sided semifinal clash today and will now have to fight it out for a bronze in the Champions Trophy hockey tournament here.
Australia scored through captain Jamie Dwyer (fifth and 18th minutes) and Kieran Govers (42nd) after enjoying territorial domination against the Indians, who were often forced to fall back and defend against the rampant rival strikers.
Australia stayed on course for their fifth successive title, setting up a final against Olympic silver medallists Netherlands, who outplayed Pakistan 5—2 in the other semifinal.
India’s Cinderella run came to an end, but they stay in contention for their first Champions Trophy medal in three decades. India will take on Pakistan, in a sub-continental clash tomorrow for the bronze medal.
India’s only Champions Trophy medal, a bronze, came in 1982. Pakistan edged past India to claim bronze medals for three successive years from 2002-04.
Playing a fast dominant game, Australia today pressed the accelerator from the beginning and forced their first penalty corner in the second minute, but Christopher Ciriello’s rising shot was ruled as a foul for going into onrushing defender’s body.
Dwyer opened the scoring in the fifth minute, capitalising on a rebound during Australia’s second penalty, after Ciriello’s drag-flick was blocked by a defender.
The Aussies increased the lead in the 18th minute by converting a penalty stroke, which was awarded when a foul was committed on Dwyer in a scoring position.
Dwyer had already taken two shies. The first one was blocked by goalkeeper T.R Potunuri and the second shot rebounded back into play off post.
India opened up to mount a few raids midway through the first session, but did not cause much trouble to the Australian defence.
Striker Kieren Govers flicked into an open goal for Australia’s third goal seven minutes after half-time when the Indian defence was beaten by a square pass from Trent Mitton.
Australia could have added a couple of more goals as errors crept into the Indian defence, which was under pressure for most of the game. But Goalkeeper Potunuri made some fine saves on penalty corners.
India’s only look at the rival goal was in the 45th minute when Danish Kaneria took a shy off a pass from S.V Sunil, who played today despite a hamstring injury, as did captain Sardar Singh and Manpreet Singh.
India could not force any penalty corner today, as twice the awards were changed after video referral, while Australia earned six penalty corners in this match.
Earlier, Olympic silver medallists Netherlands secured passage into the final after a gap of six years.
The Dutch, eight-time Champions Trophy title winners, dominated the semifinal throughout to surge into the final for the first time since they won the title in 2006 in Spain.
Livewire striker Billy Bakker opened the scoring with a flash strike in the second minute and added another goal in similar manner in the 32nd minute to give Netherlands a 3—1 lead at the interval.
Severiano van Ass (20th minute) scored the other Dutch goal in the first session, while Pakistan reduced the lead after Netherlands conceded an own-goal.
Field goals from Valentin Verga(46th minute) and Robbert Kemperman (61th) put the game beyond the reach of Pakistan, who got a consolation goal in the last minute through Shakeel Abbasi.
Olympic champions Germany will play Champions Trophy debutants Belgium for the fifth spot, after the Germans defeated New Zealand 6—4 and Belgium outplayed England 4—0 for their first win in five matches.