India went down fighting to higher-ranked Korea 0-2 in their third second round match of the 2008 Beijing Olympic football qualifiers in Chennai, on Wednesday.
In an improved performance, India held the upper hand during the first 45 minutes during which the Korean goal survived anxious moments.
In the opening minute itself, Mumbai's ONGC star Tarif Ahmed threatened to score with a superb solo run.
India had lost the earlier two matches -- 0-3 to Iraq (Amman - Feb 28) and 0-1 to Thailand (Chennai Mar 14)
Thereafter, Salgaocar's Rocus Lamare almost scored but his left-footer, following a combined move by East Bengal's Syed Rahim Nabi and Tarif, missed the mark, the ball going inches past the cross bar.
With the teams crossing over, the Koreans changed their pattern of play while the Indians continued to attack only with long rangers and rarely went into the box to target the goal.
Eight minutes into the second half, Korea attacker Pak Nam Chol made full use of a free ball, sped down to the left of the box and his brilliant left-footer yielded the desired result.
Encouraged by the lead, the visitors kept piling pressure in the Indian area. One such move resulted in a 'penalty kick' but Mohun Bagan goalkeeper Subrata Pal brought off an acrobatic save off Choi's powerful shot.
However, the Koreans increased the lead in the 76th minute, when Jong Su Hyok collected a tailor-made cross by substitute Kim Kwang Hyok and beat Subrata Pal hands down.