CT: India shattered after losing shootout in second straight final to Australia
Team India shattered after losing shootout in second straight CT final to Oz
The Indian hockey team dominated possession, created enough space and chances and yet fell short of a prize they coveted so much. At 1-1 after the end of regulation time in the Champions Trophy final here, both teams went into a shoot-out.
The form of India captain Sreejesh suggested that the Indians would claim their first Champions Trophy title in its final edition. But disaster struck as Aussie 'keeper Lovell Tyler denied Sardar Singh, Harmanpreet Singh and Lalit Upadhyay. Australia won the shoot-out 3-1, its 15th Champions Trophy in 36 appearances.
Australian players celebrate a goal while India's SV Sunil (left) looks on in the Champions Trophy final at Breda, The Netherlands yesterday
India captain Sreejesh hurting badly despite winning the Best Goalkeeper award, said, "We gifted the trophy to Australia and it will take a long time to recover from this loss."
A gutted Sardar said, "We should have won in regulation time. I feel very bad for letting the team down." Manpreet Singh the only Indian, who scored in the shootout, was in tears as he said: "We wanted this win at all costs. But luck just didn't give us that break." India played out of their skins to dominate the quarters and with an offensive defence shook the Aussies.
Australia led when Blake Gover's high flick to the right was deflected into goal by Sreejesh. In the 42nd minute, the Indians managed to draw level when the 18-year-old Vivek Prasad smashed in a waist high ball. Then, in the 57th minute, Manpreet failed to convert in front of goal.
India coach Harendra felt maybe bigger things are in store: "I know the team will just go to go to bed and try and sleep over this disappointment. But we need to understand how to close out matches. We should have won and I feel for the team." Sreejesh felt the experience gained in the tournament will help the team to try and win the Asian Games and also push for a podium finish at the World Cup later this year.
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