Birmingham, Aug 8: Defending champions Australia once again proved to be too good for the Indian team as they clinched a crushing 7-0 win over the Manpreet Singh-led Indian hockey team on the final day of the 2022 Commonwealth Games.
Australia’s dominant show ended India's gold medal dream at the Birmingham Games, as they beat a listless India in the men’s hockey final on Monday.
For Australia, Blake Govers opened the scoring just eight minutes into the game, and thereon there was no way back in for India. In Australia’s 7-0 thrashing, goals were scored by Govers (9'), Nathan Ephraums (14', 42'), Jacob Anderson (22', 27'), Tom Wickham (26') and Flynn Ogilvie (46').
India came into the gold medal match on the back of some fine performances in the group stage as they beat Ghana 11-0, drew against England 4-4, beat Canada 8-0 and Wales 4-1 followed by a 3-2 win against South Africa in the semifinal.
In the much-awaited Final, Australia got off the blocks at rampaging pace, pushing the Indian defenders from the word go. Though India survived the onslaught in the initial few minutes, Australia was quick to snatch a 1-0 lead when they earned the third PC of the game in 9th minute. Govers was on target this time, beating Sreejesh to the goal. The Defending Champions extended the lead in the 14th minute when Ephraums scored a field goal.
While the Australian attackers displaying sublime form and coordination, their defence ensured India found no space in the circle to create any scoring opportunity. Even as Indian attackers struggled to find a breakthrough, Australia went on to pump three more goals in the second quarter through Jacob Anderson (22', 27') and Tom Wickham (26').
Going into the half-time break, Indian team were left staring at a massive 0-5 lead and had their task cut out for the third quarter when Australia returned with similar gumption as the first two quarters. Although India did not concede a goal in this quarter, they were denied any chance of scoring even though India forward Mandeep Singh and Abhishek worked some good variations but nothing came of it. Though Australia pumped seven past India, PR Sreejesh stood tall for India, pulling off some superb saves.
India's troubles deepened further as they lost their Captain Manpreet Singh midway into the game, as he walked out of the pitch having dealt with a massive blow on his right shoulder.
With Manpreet back in the dugout retired hurt, the onus was on Hardik and Nilakanta who had to free up space in the midfield to help forwards surge ahead. But tactical defence by Australia put immense pressure on the youngsters.
Meanwhile Australia pumped two more goals in the final quarter. It was Ephraums who scored in the 42nd minute followed by Flynn Ogilvie's goal in the 46th minute. While this is Australia's seventh Gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, it was the Indian men’s hockey team’s third silver at the Commonwealth Games.