photo –



After the shock 3-4 defeat to Japan two-time champions India smashed Australia 5-1 to haul themselves for a place on Saturday’s final in the Sultan of Johor Cup Under-21 Invitational six-nation tournament.

It was a different India as they ran rings around the Burras and now need only a point from their final round-robin match against defending champions Great Britain – the team beat India in last year’s final.

The defeat to Japan left India shell-shocked but the Indians came back strong against Australia and coach B. J. Kariappa was pleased with the manner in which his team got the “basics and rhythm” and used the space properly to get the desired result.

“We have one foot in the final but our focus now is on Friday’s match (Great Britain) which is very important to India,” said Kariappa, himself surprised with the big win over Australia. “I believe this is one of the biggest wins over Australia at the junior level.”

A brace by Shila Nand Lakra in the 26th and 19th minutes paved the way for India’s massive win. The Indians took off from where they left in the first half and in a deadly six-minute spell took the tally to 5-0 with goals by Dilpreet Singh (44th), Gursahibjit Singh (48th) and skipper Mandeep Mor completed the rout.

Australia’s consolation goal was netted by Aaron Knight but it did little to India’s domination in the first match of the day.

Australia coach Ben Bishop sportingly said: “We lost to a better team and India took their chances well for the win. They were very clean in their attacks.”

Bishop is now hoping that the Burras will be able to put the defeat behind them and look for a positive result against New Zealand in their last round-robin match on Friday., adding that they don’t want to end up playing for the wooden spoon.

The top two teams after the round-robin matches will play in the final on Saturday while the third and fourth placed teams will battle for the third place. RIZAL ABDULLAH 


- Advertisement -