Tushar Khandker fired in a field goal as India defeated holders South Korea by a solitary goal to win the bronze medal in the men’s hockey competition of the Asian Games, here on Thursday.
Tushar scored the winner, the only goal of the match, in the 39th minute, after the first=half ended in a stalemate.
By virtue of this bronze, India ended their eight-year long medal drought in the quadrennial event after having finished on the podium (silver) in the 2002 Busan Games.
India’s win also ended double defending champions South Korea’s honeymoon in Asian Games hockey. This is the first instance since the 1986 Seoul Games that they finished without a medal.
Stung by the shocking 3-4 defeat against Malaysia in the semifinals on Tuesday, the Indians came out all charged up and dominated their fancied rivals for a major part of the match.
Even though India made numerous inroads into the Korean circle, goals eluded them as both the team went into the breather without any success.
However, after the change of ends, India came out with more purpose and controlled the proceedings by making continuous raids into the rival citadel.
The Indians finally tasted success four minutes into the second-half, when Tushar guided home the ball after receiving a brilliant dissecting pass from Gurbaj Singh from the right flank.
Coach Jose Brasa’s boys could have won the match by a bigger margin had it not been for the South Korean custodian who denied India on more than one occasion.
The win also meant India will not return home empty handed from the Games, which is also Brasa’s last assignment with the national team as the Spaniard’s contract expires after the event, and, in all likelihood, he will not be given an extension.
Keywords: Asian Games 2010