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Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2018: Cards hamper India’s game
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In a crazy sort of a way, the third quarter unravelled in completely opposite ways for both w88 mobile India and Australia. India, playing solid defensive hockey with flashy runs that rattled Australia constantly and even had their goalkeeper Andrew Charter hopping around like a padded bunny. Only a stroke converted in the 28th minute by their captain Mark Knowles separated both the teams.

And by the time the third quarter madness of Aussie goals and a clutch of cards for India ended, the scoreline read 4-0, enough to ping back any team. And India, by the way, was playing the World Champion and nine-time Azlan Shah Champion. Yet they came through, getting two goals in the fourth quarter, but Australia stood firm to run out 4-2 victors on a day when goals and cards ran a parallel story of their own.

It’s been a long time since India had so many cards within three matches in a tournament. Worse, they always seem to be playing with ten instead of a solid eleven lined up. The display showed it. India in the first two quarters played deep, compact without any unnecessary flourish. They understood the plan.

The Aussies had to be kept away and at the same time, aerial balls and long hits through the midfield and on the flanks to be used to get goals at the other end. The strategy was good. And the game plan was working. Runs down the flanks by Ramandeep Singh and Sumit Kumar kept the Australian midfield pegged back.

The world’s best side is not used to deep defending for long periods of time. In the early part of the second quarter, Ramandeep, picking up balls from the midfield, cut through like a speeding machete. Overlapping was Sumit and Shilanand Lakra running like they had wheels under them. Andrew Charter, hoping for a quiet time against a side that had decided to rest 8-10 senior players was saving snap shots and quick online slots malaysia runs with either his outstretched pads or timely interventions by the gloves.

With exactly two minutes left on the clock for the break, a goalmouth melee led to a stroke, the ball bouncing awkwardly as an Indian foot couldn’t get out of the way. It was a cruel way to end resistance. And the man who came up to take it was Aussie captain Mark Knowles. His flick was on target as Australia led 1-0.

But India had a counter with a minute on the clock. Another fast run gave India its first penalty corner of the match. Varun Kumar, till then almost flawless in the defence, with fluent ball rotation flicked hard and strong. But saw the defence beaten as the ball hit the post and rebounded back into play. The break was proving elusive.

With two quarters done, the team that must have been feeling relieved deposit 138bet were surely the Aussies. Not that they didn’t have opportunities as Tom Craig twice had almost dismantled the Indian defence but Surender and then Krishan Pathak had held him off. Leads are like aphrodisiacs and India urgently needed a shot of adrenaline. Doubts also creep in and even good teams kind of develop a drooping shoulder stance if chances and opportunities don’t translate into goals.

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