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India win Jr Asia Cup hockey
July 18, 2008 20:23 IST
Last Updated: July 18, 2008 22:47 IST
India staged a dramatic fightback to beat South Korea 3-2 and retain the Junior Asia Cup hockey crown in Hyderabad on Friday.
Drag-flick ace Diwakar Ram's goal in extra-time clinched victory for the hosts in a pulsating final.
The Indians trailed 0-2 till the 52nd minute of a fast-paced contest but clawed their way back with three quick goals to leave the Koreans in a daze.
After being locked 2-2 at the end of regulation time, the in-form Diwakar Ram converted a penalty-corner, his tenth goal of the tournament, to tilt the balance and see India finish unbeaten.
Scenes of wild celebration broke out in the galleries as soon as Diwakar netted the 'golden goal' and the Indian players hugged each other to celebrate their second successive Asia Cup triumph.
It was again Diwakar who came to the rescue of the team by scoring twice just when the match seemed running away from the Indians. Sunil S P accounted for the other goal.
Nam Hyan Woo scored both the goals for the Koreans, who began with a flourish, attacking from both flanks, but lost the initiative in the dying stages.
The Koreans drew first blood as early as the sixth minute when Nam Hyan Woo scored a field goal after capitalising on a defensive lapse.
They then relied on speed and deft stick-work to pierce through the Indian defence time and again. They went on to dominate the first session and could have increased the tally had it not been for goalkeeper Sreejesh, who brought off some stunning saves.
Leading 1-0 at the interval, the Koreans attacked with vigour after the break and consolidated their position when Woo again found the target in the 52nd minute.
It was just the jolt the Indians needed to shake them from their slumber. Suddenly they showed more urgency and launched a few counter attacks. They reduced the margin in the 59th minute through Sunil, who scored following a free-hit.
Diwakar then found the equaliser three minutes later, converting a penalty-corner.
Both the teams failed to break the 2-2 deadlock till the end of regulation time.
Spurred by a vociferous home crowd, the Indians went into extra-time with confidence and within four minutes Diwakar did the star turn much to the delight of his teammates.
Pakistan took third place in the tournament by thrashing Japan [Images] 7-2 in the play-off for third-fourth positions.
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