India defeated Australia in a dramatic shootout after both the sides were locked in a 1-1 draw in regulation time in the final of the 10th edition of the Sultan of Johor Cup International Invitational Tournament at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium tonight.
In the shootout, both teams were tied 3-3. However, the Indians won the fourth sudden-death shootout to lift the 10th edition of the Sultan of Johor Cup.
His Highness the Tunku Temenggong of Johor Tunku Idris Sultan Ibrahim presented the trophy to India’s captain Uttam Singh. The night was lit up minutes after the presentation with display of fireworks.
Two-time champions Australia and India respectively flexed their muscles early in the first quarter as a sign of superiority. They were strongly supported by a crowd of more than 1,000 fans, including foreign nation hockey officials and dignitaries.
The Indians emerged champions in 2013 and 2014, and subsequently won silver medals in 2012, 2015, 2018 and 2019. They are yearning to break the barren run of five years. The back-to-back defeats against Great Britain in 2018 and 2019 have been most painful.
On the opposite end, the Australians, won the titles in 2016 and 2017, runners-up in 2011 and third on three occasions. India’s last triumph over the Australians in the SOJC was in the 2019 edition when they won 5-1.
“We came here to win and today we celebrate our victory. Our mission has been successful. My players played a good tactical game. Our performance today was much better than previous matches. The Australians went into defensive most times,” said India’s coach C.R. Kumar.
Several awards were also presented to players. Great Britain’s Max Anderson was named the Most Promising Player; Top Goal Scorer ward went to India’s Shardanand Tiwari. He scored seven goals. The Best Goalkeeper award went to Australian Jed Snoden.
Australia’s most prolific scorer and forward Cooper Burns was named the Player of the Tournament.
Both teams were engaged in a pressure-cooker atmosphere encounter during their group match a few days ago that ended with a 5-5 draw. The intensity of that match continued today. Sudeep Chirmako, one of seven players in the side who competed in the 2021 Junior World Cup for India, sounded the board with a field goal in the 14th minute.
But the joy in the Indian camp was short-lived 15 minutes later, Jack Holland turned the ball past goalkeeper Ankit Malik with a quick push during a crowded goalmouth melee confusion to level score 1-1. It was Holland’s fourth goal in the SOJC.
Australia and India had two penalty corners by the end of the third quarter but failed to convert. It was a night of nightmare for Indian and Australia’s goalkeeper who came under intense pressure.
The Australians were awarded a penalty corner in 56th minute while India received two back-to-back. Both sides muffed their chances to go into a shootout.
(Press Release: Sultan of Johor Cup Media Team)