|HOME | SPORTS | OLYMPICS | NEWS|
September 21, 2000
South Korea beat India 2-0The Rediff Team
The match was crucial for both sides. While Korea had drawn its first two games and needed a win, India with one win and one draw in the pool thus far needed another win to ensure their progress to the next stage.
Historically, India was the underdogs -- the South Koreans having beaten them in the last three encounters.
India in this tournament has already built up the reputation of being bad starters, and today was no exception as, in the early minutes, the Indians' gave up possession too easily, allowing the speedy Koreans far too much room to run around.
The danger signals were evident early on, when the Indian defence found itself at sea against the speed and stickwork of the Koreans. Unable to match the foot-speed of the opponents, the Indians resorted to marking the ball -- a strategy the Koreans easily countered by sweeping the ball from wing to wing, and switching flanks at will to wrong-foot the defence.
A fine move by the Koreans as early as the 5th minute of play put Keon-Wook Kang in possession inside the circle, but his firm hit just missed the target. Korea built most of the attacks during this period, India's only chance coming when Thiru Selvaraj made a move into the Korean D and produced a firm hit, but straight to the keeper.
An Indian move in the 15th minute produced the first penalty corner of the game, but skipper Ramandeep Singh's shot packed little power, and the Korean goalkeeper had no problem saving.
A minute later, it was Woon-Kon Yeo with the penalty hit for the Koreans. In the opening game against Argentina, India had similarly started in sluggish fashion, until Jude Menezes sparked the side with a brilliant save off a penalty. Here, history was repeated with Jude, yet again, pulling off a blinder to a shot that seemed destined to drill a hole in the back-board.
Mukesh Kumar had a fine move in the 24th minute. On the day, Mukesh's footspeed was as good as ever, but like the rest of the Indians, Mukesh appeared to be a touch panicky, a touch too hasty inhis hits. Here, with the goal-keeper to beat albeit from a somewhat acute angle, Mukesh took the hit too quickly, before the ball was fully controlled. And missed.
Seung-Tae Song didn't. Four minutes after the Mukesh try, the Koreans built up a nice move, then caught the Indian defence fast asleep with another switch of flanks. A shocking defensive lapse saw the speedy Korean forward being left completely alone and unmarked on top of the D. Song needed no second invitation, crashing one into the boards with a fluent hit in the 28th minute.
India then mounted a series of attacks, producing opportunities in plenty but poor finishing kept them from restoring parity. Deepak Thakur, Dhanraj, Baljit Dillon and Mukesh all had tries on goal, all of which proved fruitless. Mukesh in particular had an easy set up when a Sameer Dad-Dhanraj Pillay move put Mukesh possession just outside the circle. The Indian forward raced in, but seemed seemed so intent on ensuring that the ball stayed close to the stick that he did not notice the Korean goalkeeper getting into position. The forward shot with only the goalkeeper to beat -- and crashed it straight into the goalie's pads.
Mukesh almost immediately thereafter initiated a move that put Deepak Thakur in possession. Thakur swept it into the D to find Dhanraj, whose quick reverse flick was kept out at the expense of a penalty -- which Baljit Singh Dhillon squandered with a weak shot.
On paper, India would appear to have had the better of the exchanges in the first half -- two penalty corners apiece, but five tries on goal as opposed to three by the Koreans. The paper was misleading -- the Koreans converted one of three field tries, while the Indians missed with both the field, and penalty, shots.
Panic apparently seized the Indian camp in the first half, creating a very disorganised performance at the start of the second half. Within six minutes of resumption, the Koreans scored again, through Keon-Wook Kang. And again, a defensive lapse produced the goal -- the Koreans, who appeared to have decided on rapid switching of flanks as the preferred strategy, launched another one of those wing to wing moves that found an unmarked Kang standing in clear space, within the Indian D, behind the back of skipper Ramandeep. The Indian captain, having a horrible game today, did not seem to realise that there was an opponent behind him.
The pass was unerring, as was the hit.
From that point on, the Indians just weren't in it. The Koreans dropped four back into defence, and their forwards, who in any case had the legs on the Indians, raced back rapidly to assist. The Indians, unable to risk letting in another goal, had to keep three back in defence all the time, which meant that they had a maximum of six on attack against 10 Koreans defending.
Given this, the Indians managed just one real opportunity, when the mercurial Dhanraj broke away from his two attendants and raced into the D. An illict check resulted in a penalty. Dilip Tirkey's effort was a no-shot, as he failed with the hit. The resulting scramble, though, produced yet another scramble -- and yet another no-hit, credited to the same player.
Overall, it was a performance at complete variance to the Indian display in the first two games. The Indian players, who for once had seemed to have mastered the art of trapping on artificial turf, and also showed an increased willingness to shoot rather than indulge in needless dribbling within the D, forgot both those lessons. Thus, too many balls were not stopped cleanly, allowing the speedy Koreans far too much recovery time -- a problem compounded by much needless 'artistry' within the striking circle.
With the win, Korea move ahead of India on points, 5-4. India, with two games left to play, need to win both to ensure passage to the next stage.
And to do that, they will need to put in a tremendous amount of homework, especially in defence which, stated bluntly, was an embarassment on the day.
TRAVEL | NEWSLINKS
ROMANCE | WEDDING | BOOK SHOP | MUSIC SHOP | GIFT SHOP | HOTEL BOOKINGS
AIR/RAIL | WEATHER | FREE MESSENGER | BROADBAND | E-CARDS | EDUCATION
HOMEPAGES | FREE EMAIL | CONTESTS | FEEDBACK