Germany came back from two goals down to hold two-time champions Australia in the most exciting Group A match of the 11th Sultan of Johor Cup 2023 at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Bahru tonight.
Australia was quick out of the blocks and showed they are here as early favorites once again.
Dylan Downey got the first goal for the Burras from a penalty corner conversion in the 10th minute and Cooper Burns further added misery to Germany in less than a minute later with a field goal that left goalkeeper Joshua Onyekwue Nnaji stunned.
The Germans, who downed South Africa 6-1 in their first match with aggressive pace and domination, started the game causing some nervy moments to the Australians but as the match progressed it was the Burras who took charge, putting their World No 2 opponents under tremendous pressure.
“I think it was a very dramatic ending to the game. We are very happy at the way we are able to turn the game around,” said Germany head coach Rein van Eijk. “We recovered in the fourth quarter to get the goals which we should have score earlier.:.
The early goals by Downey and Burns had disrupted the Germans attacking flair and flow as they struggled to get back on track. However, the Germans made good work of a penalty corner awarded in the 61st minute as Paul Grander crashed the ball past goalkeeper Max Larkin and into the top net.
With nine minutes remaining the German hopes soared and Australia’s 2-1 lead came under tremendous pressure. The Germans kept the momentum going, putting the Australians into defensive mode. The move paid off well for Germany when Man of the Match award winner Luis Hoechemer scored the equalizer in the 59th minute via a field goal.
It was all the Germans needed to stay in contention for the semifinals as both teams shared four equal points. In tomorrow’s last Group A matches Germany take on Great Britain while Australia face South Africa while in Group B, the Malaysia will go head-to-head against Pakistan.