India thrashed Korea 6-1 in their penultimate round-robin match to virtually seal their place in the final of the Sultan of Johor Cup Under-21 hockey tournament in Johor Bahru on Thursday.
The Indian colts scored three goal each in either half at the Taman Daya Hockey stadium to continue their unbeaten run in the six-nation tournament.
It was India’s fourth win on the trot in the tournament, having defeated England (2-1), Argentina (3-2) and Pakistan (4-0) in their previous matches.
For India, Amit Rohidas (7th minute), Satbir Singh (9th), Talwinder Singh (31st) netted three goals in the first half, while Amon Mirash Tikey (57th), Ramadeep Singh (62nd) and vice-captain Affan Yusof (65th) score three more on the other side of the break.
Korea’s lone goal came from the stick of You Seung Ju in the 34th minute.
With 12 points in their kitty, India are at the top of the league standings and will play hosts and second-placed Malaysia in their last round-robin match on Saturday.
Against Korea, the Indians came up with a commanding performance and dominated the share of exchanges in the first half with a comfortable 3-0 lead.
It took India just seven minutes to open the scoring through drag-flicker Rohidas who converted a penalty corner with precision that Korean goalkeeper Lee Se Young had no answer.
India doubled their lead two minutes later through a field goal from Satbir after he was set up by Harjeet Singh.
Talwinder made it 3-0 for the Indians four minutes from half time through another field strike.
The Koreans, however, managed to pull one back three minutes later when You Seung Ju scored from a penalty corner.
India slowed down the pace after the lemon break and conceded a few penalty corners but the Koreans failed to utilise the scoring chances.
After a slow start to the second half, India gradually took control of the proceedings and scored three more field goals to run away with the match.
Amon Mirash Tikey scored India’s fourth goal in the 57th minute before Ramandeep scored his fifth goal in the tournament five minutes later. Yusof completed the rout for Korea five minutes from the hooter.
India’s chief coach Gregg Clark was full of praise for his wards after their sterling performance.
“It was a good performance and this surely gives me a welcome headache as we have several more players back in India that are fighting for a place in the final 18 to the Junior World Cup,” Clark said.
“We are playing well and credit to the boys who are executing our tactics and plans well on the pitch. As a coach this is something we look towards hence the performance in the last two matches has been on the rise,” he added.