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India settle for silver in the Hockey Champions Trophy

India muffed three tries in the title-deciding shootout to settle for a silver medal in the 36th Hero Champions Trophy as they lost the final 1-3 against World Champions Australia, here on Friday.

Only Harmanpreet Singh was able to score in the shootout, while SK Uthappa, SV Sunil and Surender Kumar all shot wide off the target. Just four attempts were required from the two teams as Australia had gained a winning 3-1 lead. Aran Zalewski, Daniel Beale and Simon Orchard scored for Australia, while Trent Mitton’s try was blocked by goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh.

There was plenty of drama in the shootout as Beale’s shot was re-taken after he failed to score and sought a video review. The video umpire asked the shot to the taken again, leaving Indian coach Roelant Oltmans fuming on the sidelines. At the end of the match India protested against the second successful attempt awarded to Beale, delaying the final announcement on the result of the match. The officials assembled to decide on India’s appeal as trophies were removed from the ground and the fans also left the stadium.

After discussing the appeal for more than an hour, the jury declared that there was unintentional obstruction on part of Indian goalkeeper PR Sreejesh in the seventh second thus the re-take of the shot was justified. The presentation ceremony was later held indoors. India had won a bronze medal in the tournament way back in 1982 at Amsterdam. Fancied Australia, looking for their 14th Champions Trophy title, faced a stiff fight from the Indians, who were playing their first final, but raised the level to come within striking distance of the title.

Australia wasted a penalty stroke in the second quarter and India failed to capitalise on their superiority in numbers when Australia were down to nine men for a short while in the third quarter. India’s lone previous medal in the Champions Trophy came 34 years ago, when they got a bronze at Amsterdam in 1982.

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