Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup: Defending champions Australia manage to get past Ireland
The new look Australia had to bring out its best to beat Ireland 2-1 in its first pool B match of the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Friday. If Ireland could not end with a draw, it was its bad luck.
Playing a game of their life, Irish players not only put up a splendid performance both in zone to zone and man to man marking but also matched their experienced opponents in all departments of the game. They, however, lacked the finish in the striking circle. Otherwise, it turned out to be an exciting game. Well paced the game saw the Aussies trying to take control in the second half after taking the match winning lead in the 33rd minute.
Defending champions Australia playing with several new faces found a tough opponent in Ireland. Though the Kangaroos took the lead from the second penalty corner it earned in the 11th minute, Ireland was quick to retaliate.
Responding to penalty corner conversion by Blake Govers, one of top drag flickers, Ireland retored parity through Shane Odonoghue who latched on to a pass from Shane Murray to slam the ball home in the 13th minute.
It was in the beginning of the second half that speedy Brand intercepted a cross from the left flank to find himself alone in front of the goalkeeper. His first essay into the goal was padded. He, however, latched on to the rebound to place it home for the all important match clinching goal. He could not have given a better birthday gift to his team.
Also Read: Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2018
Australia and Ireland have played each other twice before. On both the occasions Australia won by an identical 4-1 margin.
Man of the match: Tim Brand