Perth: In a thrilling encounter today, India went down 4-3 in a penalty shoot out to the Victoria Vikings in their Semi Final match at the Australian Hockey League. The Indian Juniors were out of the match at the half time when they were down 3-0 against Victoria. However, Varun’s hat trick made sure this was not an easy win for the opponents.
Earlier, starting the match with defensive approach with focus on controlling the ball and thwarting any advances of opponents. It was in the second half, in the 20th minute, that Vikings got their first goal through when Chris Ciriello converted a penalty corner to start the scoreboard ticking, and this broke the confidence of Indian team which allowed another goal two minutes later via Aaron Kleinschmidt. India too got a penalty corner in the second quarter, only to be thwarted by the opponents. However, this gave the confidence to the Indian ranks which was hit by the two goals, and they started to capitalize on controlling the ball again.
Just before the half-time, India conceded another penalty corner and Ciriello scored his second taking the team to a comfortable 3-0 lead in the first half.
Coming off the break, India hits and misses kept taking place, missing one chance too many before Varun added the first goal for India on the scorecard from a rebound off a penalty corner. Teams went for the final break with 3-1 score in favor of the Victorian team.
In the final quarter of the match, again hit and misses appeared till the last six minutes of the match, when India won a penalty corner, duly converted by Varun and it was 3-2. This changed the momentum over to India as Varun scored off another PC to draw the scores level and take the match to the shoot out.
This was the time to decide the match and this is where India faltered to allow the win to be taken away as in the shootout, the Vikings held strong missing a single chance of their five, and winning by the narrowest of margins to take their place in the finals.
India will play for the Bronze on Sunday.