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India survive Korea, enter semis
September 03, 2007 21:19 IST
Last Updated: September 04, 2007 14:39 IST
India became the first team to book their berth in the semi final with a superlative display of artistry in their 3-2 win over South Korea for their third straight victory in the BSNL Asia Cup Hockey Championship in Chennai on Monday before a packed stadium.
It was a gripping encounter as the Koreans kept up the pressure making full use of their usual speedy runs to dislodge the Indians.
India survived a sever onslaught from the Korean attack straight after the break but both the teams failed to add to their score in the second half. India had gone into the interval with a 3-2 lead.
For the first time in recent past playing at home, Indian players raised their game to great heights exhibiting total hockey in disposing off the Koreans, who are rated as the best in the Asian Continent, to take their point tally to nine from three matches..
Shivendra Singh, Ignace Tirkey and Prabhjot Singh scored for India while Jang Jong Hyun and Kang Seong Jung scored for Korea.
The hosts showed total cohesion and the understanding between the forwards, medios and the defenders witnessed through out the match, put them on a better keel than the Koreans. The trappings in the midfield by the Indian was a visual treat to watch.
Olympic berth contender Japan [Images] overwhelmed Hong Kong 7-1, while China and Pakistan thrashed minnows Thailand and Singapore respectively.
Pakistan's experimental team led 4-0 at the break before winning 8-0.
The Singapore defense was not organised and shone only in patches. Goalkeeper Lim ShiHai Paul showed good reflexes in denying at least five goals to the Pakistanis with effective saves. Pakistan converted just three of the numerous penalty corners it earned.
Paul, who came out of his charge with confidence whenever under threat, was declared 'Man of the Match' for his heroics.
Abbas Haider (two), Rehan Butt (two), Md.Imran, Tariq Aziz, Ihsan Ullah and Imran Khan scored for Pakistan.
In the Group-B matches held this morning, China thrashed minnows Thailand 13-0 and Bangladesh overcame Sri Lanka [Images] 3-2.
Japan drubbed Hong Kong 7-1 for their second confident win after upsetting Pakistan 3-1 last Saturday.
For China, penalty corner specialist and captain Hu Hui Ren slammed in six goals, including a field goal, while Lu Feng Hui, Meng Jun and Yu Yang struck a brace each. Meng Lizhi completed the tally.
Bangladesh won their second match in three outings, thanks to goals from Rasel Mahmud, Mohd Mamum and Mohd Zahidul Islam. Hettiarachchi and Panditharathne scored for Sri Lanka.
In Group-B, Thailand and Sri Lanka have gone out of contention with three losses each.