Today’s Commonwealth Games men’s hockey final at Glasgow Green brings together Australia and India, a repeat of Delhi four years ago when the Aussies triumphed 8-0.
Yesterday the holders had a comfortable 4-1 win over England in the first semi-final, but India had to come from behind to see off New Zealand 3-2 in the later tie.
Australia’s awesome reputation in the Commonwealth Games over the years made itself felt in only three minutes when England conceded a soft penalty corner and the ball was switched to Tristan White who fired a low shot past George Pinner for an early opener. Ten minutes later the Aussies were two up with a reverse stick shot by Simon Orchard.
There followed a bizarre incident. Australian captain Mark Knowles was sent to the sin bin by Scottish umpire Martin Madden when it was discovered they had too many players on the pitch. With the Aussies a player down England came more into the game but failed to make any inroads into the 2-0 lead.
Early in the second Harry Martin pulled one back from close range, giving the English brief hopes of an equaliser as Alastair Brogdon created another opening, but his drive was saved by Andrew Charter.
But the Aussies were not to be denied at another penalty corner, Chris Ciriello sending a low drag flick into the English net, although it had to survive a video referral. English coach Bobby Crutchley opted to substitute his goalkeeper with an another outfield player, but the gamble failed as Eddie Ockenden took advantage at a breakaway and was left with a simple tap-in for a fourth.
New Zealand also took an early lead in the other semi-final against India when, in only two minutes, Simon Child scored with a low shot. The Kiwis went 2-0 up at their first penalty corner through Nick Haig.
The Indian comeback started seven minutes from the interval with a spot conversion by Rupinder Singh, the Indian captain.
Then in 42 minutes India were level through a brilliant deflection by Ramandeep Singh. Five minutes later they were ahead for the first time with a rocket shot into the roof of the net by Akashdeep Singh. In the closing minutes the Kiwis replaced their goalkeeper with an additional outfield player but the Indians were not to be denied their place in the final.