India and Australia settled for a 5-5 draw in one of the most dramatic matches hockey fans witnessed in the 10th edition of the Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya hockey stadium today.
Both teams have won the tournament two times since the inaugural edition in 2011. And today’s match decides the real contenders for the title that included defending champion Great Britain and South Africa.
Following the 5-5 draw, both teams earned one equal point. Australia topped the group with 10 points and India closed the ranks with seven.
The Indians scored through Tiwari Shardanand (8th and 35th), Dhami Boby Singh (2nd), Hundal Araijeet Singh, and Amandeep.
Australia replied through a brace from Brooks Joshua, Liam Hart (3rd), Jack Holland (8th), and Jake lambert.
India’s head coach C.R.Kumar, said: “Our players have this problem of not getting used to food when overseas. This trip to Malaysia they are still adjusting to the local food…some dishes are too spicy.”
“They are also struggling to get adjusted to local weather conditions. I did warn the players that we are playing in Malaysia and it will be tough on us,” he added.
Kumar, a former coach of India’s women’s team that competed in the Olympics and World Cup, said the 10-goal thriller match saw that his players were not able to hold on to the lead, resulting in his players allowing the Australians to bounce back freely to level score.
“In international matches, you must hold to your lead and build up your momentum. We hope to build up this team for the Junior World Cup. To do this, we must play more international matches. We need about 50 matches to mould a good team for the world cup,” said Kumar, who is disturbed by the performance of his players.
India, he added, will be lining up matches in Australia in preparation for the Junior World Cup in Kuala Lumpur 2023.
“We are lining up matches in Australia and there is a strong possibility of Malaysia and New Zealand joining into the fray in this in Australia.”.
(Press Release: Sultan of Johor Cup Media Team)