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South Korea drub Malaysia
May 30, 2005 19:12 IST
Title aspirants South Korea shrugged off an initial challenge from Malaysia to record a 4-0 victory in the Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament at the Bukit Jalil stadium in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.
Malaysia, fresh from Sunday's comprehensive win over India, matched the fancied South Koreans in a well-contested but barren first half only to cave in tamely after the break.
The goal scorers were Jong Hyun Jang from penalty-corners (43rd and 47th minutes), Eun Seong Hong (53rd minute) and Jong Ho Seo (68th minute).
Malaysian captain Kuhan Shanmuganathan was rock solid in the deep, ably supported by veterans Nor Azlan Bakar and Chua Boon Huat, who successfully blanked numerous sorties from their rivals.
Malaysia forwards Azlan Misron, Jiwa Mohan and Robert Alcantara exhibited speed and skill as they penetrated into the Korean circle but lacked the finish.
The home team should have shot ahead midway in this session but Mohd Fairuz Ramli missed a sitter after being set up by Logan Raj from the left flank.
Korea earned three penalty-corners as against Malaysia's two before the break, but all their attempts were either saved or flicked wide.
Winger Jong Hyun Jang wasted the best opportunity to give Korea the lead when he reverse hit off target after receiving a long through ball from his skipper Hyung Bae Han.
Korea took the field in the second half with greater resolve and outplayed their opponents with clinical calibration, agility and athleticism.
They took the lead in the 43rd minute after Jong Hyun Jang flicked low past Malaysia custodian Kumar Subramaniam.
The 23-year-old was again in the scoring act four minutes later, again drag flicking home to make it 2-0.
It appeared that Malaysia, who had fought like tigers against India, threw in the towel at this stage as their squad suddenly began committing unforced errors, missing crosses and making a mess of ball traps.
Korea pushed home the advantage and fired two more field goals through Eun Seong Hong and Jong Ho Seo to crown off a splendid win, their first in three matches.
They now have four points like India, who they meet in a crucial fixture on Tuesday.