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India show nerves of steel to beat Australia and win the Sultan of Johor Cup

The Indian junior men’s hockey team put in a fine display on a nervy evening against Australia to win the 10th Sultan of Johor Cup after a tense penalty shootout. The teams were tied at 1-1 in regulation time, following which nine penalty shots were needed to decide the winner.

India won the shootout 5-4 and clinched their third Sultan of Johor Cup title.

Australia controlled proceedings in the early exchanges while captain Uttam Singh and Boby Singh Dhami tried to push India forward. The efforts paid off as India broke the deadlock through Sudeep Chirmako (14th minute). India went into the first break leading 1-0.

Looking to build on the lead in the second quarter, India began on the front foot, with most of the contest being played in Australia’s half.

As the quarter progressed, Australia’s hunt for the equaliser intensified, and even though India were absorbing the pressure well, Jack Holland (29th min) scored. India and Australia went into the half-time break with the score reading 1-1.

Both sides came back out for the second half with a cautious approach, not keen to allow the opponent any space. Midway through the quarter, India almost edged ahead with Sudeep Chirmako, but neither side were able to outsmart the other, as the quarter ended with the score at 1-1.

In the final quarter, which was played in the presence of the Sultan of Johor, both India and Australia turned up the heat by a few notches, making it a very entertaining phase in the game. However, as the final six minutes began, the score still read 1-1.

Both sides gave it their all, but weren’t able to find the winner in regulation time, as the final went into a penalty shootout.

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