Wednesday, November 30, 2022

India beat Aus 5-4 in shootout; claim 3rd Sultan of Johar Cup crown

Two-time champions India defeated Australia 5-4 in a nail-biting penalty shootout to reclaim the Sultan of Johor Cup crown, breaking their five-year-old title jinx here on Saturday.
The teams were level at 1-1 after regulation time in the title encounter.
In the shootout, both teams ended with 3-3 scoreline, forcing the match into sudden death.
As many as nine penalty shots were needed to decide the winner and it was Australia who had the first crack with Cooper Burns but India goalkeeper Mohith Shashikumar kept him out. India started off with Vishnukant Singh, who calmly lifted it over the keeper and into the back of the net. Liam Hart then scored Australia’s first goal in the shootout, after which Sudeep shot wide, and the tie-breaker was locked at 1-1 after the first two shots.
Mohith foiled Jayden Atkinson’s attempt, before captain Uttam Singh won a penalty stroke, which Sharda Nand Tiwari promptly put away, giving India a 2-1 lead. Up next for Australia was Joshua Brooks and he made it 2-2, but Boby Singh Dhami could not put India ahead. Australia won a penalty stroke off the next attempt as Brodee Foster was checked by the keeper and Joshua scored without much ado.
Ankit Pal then walked up to the spot for India, and he equalised, to make it 3-3, taking the game into sudden death. In sudden death, Vishnukant stepped up for India, but he missed, after which Hart was denied by the post. Uttam then gave India a 4-3 lead with the next attempt, and Burns made it 4-4.
Boby cut a disappointed figure on missing his attempt, before Brodee put it wide, and the two teams remained tied at 4-4 in what was turning out to be a dramatic finish.
Sudeep then held his nerve and made it 5-4, while Joshua missed as Indian players ran amok in celebration. Earlier, both sides looked to play at a high tempo as India broke the deadlock through Sudeep (14’) and went into the first break leading 1-0.
As the quarter progressed, Australia’s hunt for the equaliser intensified, and even though India were absorbing the pressure well, Jack Holland (29’) scored.

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