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Unbeaten run continues as Durst keeps shootout clean sheet

Published Sun 25 Feb 2024

The Kookaburras are one win away from a perfect start to 2024 and claiming top spot on the FIH Pro League standings, after a perfect penalty shootout saw them prevail over India this evening.

Watch the Kookaburras take on the world number one Netherlands side tonight, live and free on 7plus

After spoiling India’s party at home last week with a gritty come-from-behind 6-4 victory in Bhubaneswar, Australia knew the hosts were running out with a vengeance.
And on a stormy Saturday night, 20,000 passionate fans rocked Rourkela stadium cheering them on, desperate to see their favourite team beat an unstoppable Aussie outfit.
The Kookaburras weren’t going to let the occasion rock them, in control early they created space and defensively shut down India but it would be the nation’s hero in the second quarter who would strike first.
Skipper Harmanpreet Singh with a beautiful strike found the back of the net past Kookaburras goalkeeper Johan Durst and the crowd erupted in a deafening cheer.
India was suddenly piling the pressure on Australia but before too long a costly error handed Australia’s top goal scorer Blake Govers a penalty shot and India’s goalie didn’t stand a chance.
Govers’ powerful strike sailed to the right of the keeper and straight into the back of the net.
With the game level once again three minutes later, this was a match that was delivering on all the hype.
Despite constant turnovers, possession and opportunities on goal, the Kookaburras weren’t making them count and India earned their fourth penalty corner.
That was enough for India to retake the lead heading into halftime and late into the second half Australia found themselves in a desperate bid to score another to level the score and take the match to a shootout.
With the clock ticking down it would be Lane Cove’s Tom Craig who would score the equalizer and silence thousands of fans who were gripping their seats hoping for India to win.
"It was a tough match out there, you couldn't really speak,' match skipper Jeremy Hayward said post-match.

"I was trying to yell to the bloke beside me and he still couldn't hear me. Indians love their hockey, it was a crazy game, a crazy experience and I loved every minute of it."

In the penalty shootout it was all Australia, showing why they are unstoppable in competition right now as all three players who stood up secured their goal.
But hailed for keeping his composure in the most crucial moment was Melbournian goalkeeper Johan Durst as he defended and saved every single attempt by India.
Just one match remains, a nail biter against the table topping Netherlands tomorrow night.

"It's going to be a huge game, an excellent game, where ever you are in Australia tune in and watch, it's going to be a great one against the world number one!"
Can Australia remain unbeaten in their first FIH Pro League Tour in Olympic year in 2024?
Tomorrow night’s match against the Netherlands will be streamed LIVE and FREE on 7Plus at 11.00pm AEDT / 8.00pm AWST.
Match Details
India: 2 (0) (Harmanpreet Singh 20’ & Amit Rohidas 29’)
Kookaburras: 2 (3) (Blake Govers 23’ & Tom Craig 53’)
Shootout – India 0 , Australia 3 (Tim Brand, Flynn Ogilvie & Tom Wickham)
In Rourkela, India
Kookaburras: 1. Lachlan Sharp, 2. Tom Craig, 3. Corey Weyer, 4. Jake Harvie, 8. Johan Durst (gk), 10. Joshua Beltz, 12. Jake Whetton, 17. Aran Zalewski, 23. Daniel Beale, 29. Tim Brand, 32. Jeremy Hayward (c), 5. Tom Wickham, 6. Matt Dawson, 7. Nathan Ephraums, 11. Eddie Ockenden, 13. Blake Govers, 22. Flynn Ogilvie, 30. Andrew Charter (gk)