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Two goals up India lose to Australia
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July 09, 2005 02:01 IST
Last Updated: July 09, 2005 11:55 IST

Australia overcame a first-half deficit to beat defending champions India 3-2 to enter the final of the men's Junior World Cup hockey [Images] tournament in Rotterdam on Friday.

Australia on Sunday face Argentina who earlier beat Spain 2-1 with an extra-time goal.

After Tushar Khandekar (19th min) and Sandeep Singh (31st) gave India a 2-0 lead by half-time, the Australians came back strongly to score thrice in the space of 12 minutes to clinch the issue.

Desmond Abbott (42nd) and Colin Hennessey (49th, 54th) dealt body blows to the Indian hopes as the Australians hung on grimly to the slender lead.

If India dictated terms in the first-half, then it was Australia who held sway on resumption when they applied tremendous pressure to not only equalise but also to take the lead.

Abbott made an indirect conversion for the first Australian goal and soon after, Hennessey converted a penalty stroke after Vivek Gupta was struck on the foot stopping a penalty corner drive.

Hennssey then capped a good match for him, scoring his 14th goal of the tournament from a penalty corner.

The first-half belonged to India who played at a controlled pace and combined well. So much so that the Australians struggled to stay in the game and being forced to defend for much of the period.

The Indians rightly chose to attack in a bid to take early advantage. Moves flowed from either flanks with the Indian midfield doing a fine job to cut off the Aussies and orchestrate turnovers.

India had two good chances in the first 11 minutes following a couple of brilliant moves. Sandeep found Nithin Kumar with a long ball.

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The linkman essayed a diagonal to the left where Tushar gained possession, advanced into the circle and let fly a reverse hit. Goalkeeper Reid blocked, but got entangled with a defender leading to India's first penalty corner that proved abortive.

Soon after, Adam Sinclair had a crack after Nithin Kumar put him through. The ball came off the upright and the Australians survived.

At the other end, Australia had two good tries at the Indian goal, but Kiel Brown's attempt was confidently blocked by goalkeeper Adrian D'Souza and then skipper Mark Knowles saw his hard hit bounce off the crosspiece.

Indians then stepped up the pace and past the 19th minute, Khandekar swept home the first goal following a lovely right-wing move set up by Vinay.

The attacking wing-half sent Hari Prasad down the line. Hari crossed to Birendar Lakra who, without wasting time, relayed the ball to a waiting Khandekar to do the rest.

Four minutes from half-time, India earned their second penalty corner and this time, Sandeep drag-flicked to the net to give his team a 2-0 lead.

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