Sultan Azlan Shah Cup – Day 1
19 Jun 2006 08:18
Australia 4 defeated India 1
Goals: AUS - Troy Elder FG 7m, Matt Naylor FG 11m FG 40m, Luke Doerner PC 64m; IND - Tejbir Singh PC 23m
Hockey Australia: The Kookaburras have opened their Azlan Shah title defence with a 4-1 win over India in Malaysia.
In tough conditions the Kookaburras outclassed India with Matt Naylor scoring twice, Luke Doerner sending one of his trademark drag flicks into the net, and Troy Elder getting on the scoreboard in his first game back for Australia.
The Kookaburras controlled the match from the outset with Hopkins and Wells dominating in defence, the midfield continually taking advantage of the rebound, sending the ball into the circle.
Statistics describe a close match with India unable to capitalise on the opportunities. However, with the Kookaburras 34 circle penetrations to 27, and six shots on goal to four, they made it count on the scoreboard and controlled much of the play, pushing the Indian defence and finding the back of the net.
Troy Elder successfully returned to the Kookaburras' side with a field goal in the seventh minute, four minutes later Matt Naylor made it 2-0 when he scored his first of two for the match.
However, India rallied and were able to break one back in the 23rd minute when Tejbir Singh scored to take the score to 2-1 at half time.
After the break Naylor scored his second field goal before severe rain and lightening stopped play for twenty minutes. When play resumed Doerner put the result beyond doubt with one of his lightning bolt penalty corner drag flicks to give the Kookaburras a 4-1 win.
The win was made even sweeter with the debut of Victorian midfielder Russell Ford.
Australia will look to take their form into their second match of the tournament against Korea. They will then have Tuesday off before facing Malaysia on Wednesday and finals later in the week where Pakistan and the Netherlands loom as major threats.
New Zealand 3 defeated Argentina 2
Malaysia 2 drew Korea 2