Australia celebrated their first win of the tournament today, clinching a 27:26 victory over India in the last minute of the game, in day three of the 2022 Asian Men’s Handball Championship.
Australia, missing several players through injury and Covid-19 isolation requirements, had a slow start to the game, allowing India to score three times before they could respond through a long-range goal from right-back Tim Anderson. The teams then traded goals for the entire half, and Australia went to the break with a 14:13 lead.
The game remained in the balance up until the last ten minutes, but then a drought in scoring allowed India to build a four-goal lead, leaving Australia to chase with less than five minutes left in play.
Spurred by goalkeeper Alexander Lynch, the Aussies re-organised their defence and set on to make one of the greatest comebacks in the national team’s history.
Only minutes earlier, India’s right-back, Ankit had struck Lynch in the face with a powerful shot from a seven-metre penalty, earning himslef a direct red card.
Lynch regained his composure and returned to the game to produce two crucial saves that inspired his team to launch into attack.
In the last five minutes, the Aussie defence completely neutralised India’s attack, while patiently picking their moments to hit back with a series of goals.
Hamish Langenburg struck first to bring Australia within three, then Tim Anderson, Karl Warraner and Pavle Prokić all added to the score, before Anderson scored his seventh and Australia’s last goal, to put Australia in the lead with just over one minute left.
India had two more chances to equalise but the Aussies held their ground to claim the important win.
“It was great to have the team overcome adversity on and off the court and stay composed to snatch a comeback win over an impressive Indian side,” said Hamish Langenberg after the match.
The young right-winger scored six goals for the Aussies including two penalties from two attempts.
In the other group B game, Iran defetaed hosts Saudi Arabia 24:20 to qualify through to the main round at the top of the Group B.
Australia now moves to Group 4 of the placement rounds where they will face Oman, Hong Kong and Singapore.
The competition rests tomorrow before the second round throws off on 23 January.
Australia : India 27:26 (14:13) (13:13)
Australlia: Alexander Lynch (9 saves), Karl Warranger (5 goals), Timothy Anderson (7), Hamish Langenberg (6), Keelan Smith Connor, Saša Šestić (3), Liam McCourt (2), Pavle Prokić (3), Lucas Bastin (1), Felipe Oliveira.
Featured photo: Saša Šestić goes for goal. Courtesy: Chris Seen, Chris Seen Photography