CWG men’s hockey: Australia blank India 8-0 to claim gold

By Anand Philar, IANS,

New Delhi : Australia showed why they are the World champions with a clinical 8-0 destruction of India to claim the gold medal in the men’s hockey competition of the Commonwealth Games at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here Thursday.

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India appeared a spent force after their early flash as the Australians struck at will through Jason Wilson (18, 28 minutes), Luke Doerner (33, 51), Chris Ciriello (21), Simon Orchard (60), Jamie Dwyer (66th) and Glenn Turner (70th).

It was Australia’s fourth gold medal in a row since the introduction of hockey at the Games in 1998 while for India it was their first podium finish in three attempts following a fourth in 1998 and sixth in 2006.

Earlier, New Zealand beat England 8-6 via the tie-breaker to clinch the bronze medal after a 3-3 deadlock at the end of the regulation period and 15 minutes of extra time.

The Australians played a near-flawless game that was based on well co-ordinated team work, slick passing and controlled pace that for India proved hotter than the searing sun in which the final was played.

India began the match intent on keeping possession of the ball with a series of intricate passing bouts, but not making much progress except for a penalty corner that was wasted as the push was not stopped.

The Australian deep defence did a great job in marking the Indian forwards with some impeccable policing, coupled with flawless trapping and quick clearances.

Further, the Australians showed remarkable patience to bide their time while the Indians spent themselves doing all the running. As it turned out, it was an Australian calm before the storm.

India had no answer to the Australian speed and power that was manifest in their first goal when Matthew Swann made the initial run with a burst of acceleration before essaying a short pass to a better positioned Wilson to complete the kill.

The 18th minute reverse certainly rocked India, who then conceded a penalty corner that Ciriello converted and as is typical with the Australians, they stepped up the pace to score twice more before the break.

Wilson capped a long run down the right flank from Trent Mitton before Doerner banged home the third penalty corner close on half time.

The 15-minute spell totally exposed the Indian defence that was in tatters. Dramatically, the façade of confidence cracked as the Australians ran riot.

With Australia leading 4-0 at the break, the game was as good as over. Empty seats sprang up in the stands as the spectators who had braved the hot mid-day sun began to trickle out.

The trend continued on resumption. The Australians nearly scored their fifth, but Turner failed to reach a centre from Des Abbott in the 39th.

Australia gradually worked themselves into a comfort zone and that did not augur well for the Indians, whose early sparkle gradually lost its lustre and mistakes crept into their game.

One such, by Gurbaaz who played the ball after the whistle was blown for an infringement inside the Indian 25-yard area, led to a penalty corner that flowed into another and a goal.

Doerner was slightly off target with his carpet push, but the ball got deflected to the boards off Prabodh Tirkey’s stick and Australians went 5-0 up and Orchard made it half-a-dozen completing his own move 10 minutes from the close.

And, as if for good measure, Dwyer and Turner drove the final nails in Indian coffin with a goal apiece to complete the formalities.