AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth
CWG Hockey: India Lose to Australia 0-4, Settle for Silver

A lacklustre India were today outclassed 0-4 by Olympic and World champions Australia in the men's hockey final to settle for a silver medal, their second consecutive, in the Commonwealth Games here today.

Chris Ciriello scored a hattrick by converting three penalty corners in the 13th, 29th and 48th minutes while Eddie Ockenden got the fourth goal in the 51st minute in the summit clash played under heavy downpour at the Glasgow National Hockey Center.

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, where India finished fourth.

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 Indian defence performed below par and conceded soft penalty corners from which the Australians scored thrice to take the game away from their opponents.

In the entire 70 minutes, the Indians failed to create a clear chance and also muffed the two penalty corners that came their way.

Captain Sardar Singh's return after serving a one-match suspension failed to inspire the team against the quick-passing Australians, who have rested a few key players and bloode in youngsters.

The Kookaburras found space and penetrated the Indian defence on numerous occasions.

The Indians, on the other hand, showed glimpses of brilliance with some bright moves but the Aussie defence was too hard to break.

S V Sunil got to chance to surge India ahead but he shot wide a half chance from inside the Australian circle in the fourth minute before Nikkin Chandanda Thimmaiah failed to take a shot under pressure.

As expeceted, the Kookaburras took the lead in the 13th minute from their first penalty corner of the match. Ciriello's drag-flick found the edge of Indian goalkeeper P R Sreejesh's outstretched legs before hitting the net.

A deliberate-looking stick tackle by V R Raghunath, who was out of sorts today, on Fergus Kavanagh outside the circle cost India dearly as the umpire awarded another penalty corner to the Australians -- their second in the match -- and Ciriello sent his drag-flick past Sreejesh to the right cormer of the goal.

India then got their first penalty corner of the match following a fine run onto the right flank by Gurbaj Singh but Raghunath's high drag-flick was saved by Kieron Govers on the line.

Australia took the game away from India in the 48th minute with Ciriello completing his hattrick by converting yet another penalty corner.

Three minutes later, Australia made it 4-0 when Ockenden tapped home after receiving a fine pass from Kieran Govers, who was poaching at the Indian circle.

India's chief coach Terry Walsh conceded that his wards were simply outplayed by the Australians.

"We were just outplayed, as the game went on. We were drained out of energy to contest the result. We have to give credit to them (Australia)," he said after the gold medal match.

"It's been a very hard tournament for both teams, playing two games in a row was very tough. We created a couple opportunities but were not able to score," he added.

Defender Rupinder said that passing was a problem today.

"Australia played really well and we did well too. We were playing defensive. We missed a few chances at the beginning and it hurt us. We had some loose passes out of defence as well and they pressed us," he said.

"As a team we played well in the group stages. It gave us self-confidence in the final but we had our work cut out against Australia. We played against the world's best team. We wanted to push them and give them a good game. But there's always next time."

Asked if heavy rains had affected India's game, Rupinder said, "I don't think we can say the weather affected us."

Emerging story. Watch this space for updates as more details come in
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