Glasgow: India’s quest for a Commonwealth Games hockey gold remained unfulfilled as they went down tamely 0-4 to titleholders and world champions Australia in the final at the National Hockey Centre, on August 3.
Even though the two teams are class apart, it was an ideal opportunity for eight-time Olympic champions India to avenge their 0-8 thrashing at the hands of mighty Australia in the 2010 edition of the Games in New Delhi. But it was not to be as Australia produced a clinical performance and completely dominated the match by scoring two goals in each half to secure their fifth consecutive Commonwealth Games title since the introduction of hockey in the quadrennial event in 1998.
Chris Ciriello (13th minute, 29th, 48th) slammed a hat-trick for Australia, while Eddie Ockenden (51st) scored the final goal of the match from a field effort. Starting as underdogs, there was nothing to lose for the Indian team in the gold medal match against a formidable opponent like Australia, who beat them 4-2 in the group stages. But the Sardar Singh-led side failed to live up to the tall ask as the Aussies controlled the match from start to finish.
The Indians showed glimpses of brilliance with some bright moves but the Aussie defence was too hard to break. As expected Australia took the lead in the 13th minute when Ciriello struck from their first penalty corner. The Aussies continued their dominance and earned another penalty corner in the 20th minute but with Ciriello out of the turf they failed to convert the chance. Soon India earned their first and only penalty corner of the match but Kieron Govers made a goalline save to deny V R Raghunath. Australia continued to put pressure on the Indian defence by mounting persistent attacks which resulted in their third penalty corner and Ciriello once again stepped up to convert the opportunity to double his side’s lead.