Sydney : A golden goal sealed the fate of India colts as they went down 1-2 to Australia in the men’s hockey final at the Australian Youth Olympic Festival here Sunday.
India who were unbeaten in the tournament conceded an early lead when Aussie striker Kieren Govers deflected a reverse cross hit from the left that went past goalkeeper Mrinal Chaubey in the third minute.
Stung by the early goal, Indian forwards tried in vain to restore parity from the three penalty corners that came in their way in the first half. It seemed that the Australians had done their homework on the tournament’s top scorer India captain Diwakar Ram, as they repeatedly foiled his drag-flicks.
Australia came close to double the score from a penalty corner in the 29th minute but Chaubey came up with a a brilliant save to thwart the attempt.
India orchestrated attacks with their nippy forwards Mandip Antil, Jay Karan, Pramod Kumar and Danish Mujtaba but were unable to get the equaliser and went into the breather trailing 0-1.
The second session saw a hard fought contest as India accelerated the pace against their well built rivals. They nearly levelled the score in the 43rd minute but Karan could not strike home off a goalmouth skirmish.
The equaliser finally came in the 55th minute when Pramod Kumar intercepted an Antil set-up and beat the Aussie custodian with a crisp forehand.
The final quarter saw attacks from both teams but none could be converted to goals thus forcing the gold medal encounter into extra time.
Australia, however, struck the match winner in the 76th minute with 20-year-old Canberra forward Jason Donohoe sounding the board.