Bhubaneswar: Defending champions Australia played out an exciting 2-2 draw in an exciting Pool B match of the Men’s Hockey World League Finals at the Kalinga Stadium here Saturday.
Blake Glovers and Aaron Kleinschmidt of Australia scored in the 39th and 49th minutes respectively, while Marco Miltkau and Martin Haner struck in the seventh and 58th minutes respectively.
In a game where fortunes swung like a pendulum, it was the Germans who took the lead before suddenly finding themselves a goal down in the last quarter. In the first quarter, both sides tried to measure each other out during the initial few minutes before the Germans started dishing out their quick counter-attacks. They took the lead when Miltkau was quick to react to a cross and dived to stab the ball home. In the second quarter, Germany had a great chance to double the lead, but their penalty corner was blocked by the Aussie defence.
Australia, however, started dominating proceedings from the second corner. They got their first penalty corner and the second in the 24th. However, on both occasions German goalkeeper Mark Appel came up with brilliant saves. He was also at hand to save an attempt by Mark Knowles.
In the third quarter it was all Australia as they adopted the ‘pressing’ strategy. The Germans were rarely able to move forward and had all 11 defending. Australia restored parity from their second penalty corner when Blake Govers hit the target. He completely missed the push-in, but reacted quickly enough to trap the ball on the second attempt and come up with a fierce shot which gave Appel no chance.
Australia came with some strategy in the last quarter as Aaron Kleinschmidt bamboozled the opposition defenders to sound the board in the 49th minute to give Australia a 2-1 lead. Under pressure Germany counter-attacked and got their third penalty corner in the 58th minute. Skipper Haner Martin converted it into a spectacular goal to draw level. Jake Whetton of Australia bagged the man of the match award.
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