Sport

India beats South Korea, leads table

ON THE MOVE: India's Gurwinder Singh Chandi (centre), who scored the second goal, dribbles past South Korean defenders in the Asian hockey Championship on Tuesday.

ON THE MOVE: India's Gurwinder Singh Chandi (centre), who scored the second goal, dribbles past South Korean defenders in the Asian hockey Championship on Tuesday.   | Photo Credit: STR

A young Indian team showed fantastic temperament in vanquishing South Korea 5-3 on Tuesday, thereby setting up a strong possibility of making it to the final of the Asian Champions Trophy hockey being played here.

India now is on top of the table with seven points from three matches followed by Pakistan and Korea.

Michael Nobbs's bravehearts played at blistering pace scoring the first four goals in less than half an hour.

India scored through Rupinder Singh (4th), Gurwinder Singh Chandi (5th), S.V. Sunil (7th) and Rajpal Singh (24th) to make it four. In the meantime, Lee Nam Yong (8th, 26th) struck twice to make it 4-2 in the first half.

It was Yuvraj Walmiki's strike in the 62nd minute that ensured that India would end up with full points although Nam Hyun Woo pulled one back two minutes from the final hooter.

On a day when the FIH decided to take away the rights of hosting Champions Trophy from India, the victory would certainly act as a big morale-booster.

India coach Michael Nobbs said, “It's a great win, and coming from a young side augurs well for hockey in India.”

Blitzkrieg

India's blitzkrieg in the first seven minutes when it scored three goals broke the back of the Korean side. The Korean strategy went up in smoke as it desperately tried to recover from the damage done by the Indian forwards.

The Indian forwards stretched the Korean defence on both flanks though the goals came mainly from the left. In the third minute, India earned its first penalty corner but the Korean goalkeeper Young Moon took it on his pads as the rebound hit a Korean defender's feet.

The second consecutive penalty corner resulted in a melee as Walmiki's flick towards goal hit the defender and the umpire pointed for a stroke. Rupinder's low flick beat Young, and the Indians had opened their account.

Exactly a minute later, Gurwinder Singh Chandi raced away with the ball on the left flank, dribbled past three defenders and let loose a reverse shot that beat the Korean goalkeeper to make it 2-0.

In the seventh minute, Ignace Tirkey initiated a brilliant move down the left flank and essayed a brilliant through for Chandi who moved in cutting past two Korean defenders and passed it to an unmarked S.V. Sunil in the striking circle.

Sunil did well to smack it past a hapless Korean goalkeeper as India increased the tally to 3-0.

The Koreans got back into action and pulled one back in the eighth minute when Lee Nam Yong deflected in a cross.

After a frenetic five minutes of goal scoring, the Koreans tried to slow the pace a bit in order to regroup.

Against the run of play, India had a counter-attack in the 24th minute which saw Chandi race in dribbling past a host of defenders to give it to Mujtaba who passed to Rajpal Singh for the Indian captain to score his team's fourth goal.

In the 26th minute, Korea launched an attack and the resultant hit got deflected by Lee for his second goal of the match as Korea reduced the margin to 2-4.

India had a golden chance in the 30th minute to increase the lead but the Korean custodian effected a goalline save off Rupinder Pal's shot from a penalty corner as India went into the break at 4-2.

The second half saw both the teams playing at reduced pace. In the 43rd minute, India had its fourth penalty corner but Rupinder Pal's flick went out.

Korea was reduced to 10 men for 10 minutes when Sae Lee Rom was shown his second yellow card of the match. India conjured up one of its best moves in the 62nd minute when Sarvanjit Singh moved into the striking circle, tapped it for Chandi who after a deft tap gave it to an unmarked Walmiki who scored the fifth goal.

The results: India 5 (Rupinder Singh 4, Gurwinder Singh Chandi 5, S.V. Sunil 7, Rajpal Singh 24, Yuvraj Walmiki 62) bt South Korea 3 (Lee Nam Yong 8 & 26, Nam Hyun Woo 68); Japan 3 bt Pakistan 1; Malaysia 4 bt China 2.

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Printable version | Mar 30, 2020 8:09:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/india-beats-south-korea-leads-table/article2429512.ece

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