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India retained the Asia Cup, thrashing Korea 7-2 in the final of the seventh edition of the tournament at the packed Mayor Radhakrishnan stadium in Chennai on Sunday.
- Congratulate the Indian team!
India, who went into the title clash with an unbeaten record, began in great style snatching an early 1-0 lead through Shivendra Singh who deflected in a shot by Prabhjot Singh in a left flank move.
As the exchanges went even, Korea levelled through a penalty stroke taken by Jang Jong Hyun in the eighth minute.
But from there on India dominated the first half exchanges scoring two more goals -- first through SV Sunil, who deflected in a long corner shot in the 13th minute, and then Prabhjot, who weaved his way into the D and shot another field goal as Tushar Khandekar passed off a feeder from medio Sardara Singh.
India led 3-1 at half time thwarting a few forays into the D by the Koreans.
The first half ended on a sore note for India as Prabhjot had to miss ten minutes of play in the second half, being penalised with yellow card for an altercation with a Korean defender.
But changing ends, India scored their fourth goal in the 42nd minute through Rajpal Singh who darted into the D off a lose ball and defence. The Koreans staged a walk out and did not take to the field in protest against a goal not being allowed as the umpire judged the shot as just outside the D.
The Koreans also failed to convert three penalty corners in tandem.
There was more misery in store for the Koreans as Rajpal made it 6-1 from a left flank move after Ignace Tirkey got the fifth goal pushing the ball in, running down the middle only to beat to an advancing Korean goal keeper Ko Dong Sik, who slipped and fell and thus lost control of the ball.
It was then 7-1 for India as Prabhjot scored a peach of a goal dribbling in to right flank and shot past a Korean defender with Ko again out of position. Korea managed to score their second goal off a long corner shot by Oh Dae Keun.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, who watched the game in the second half, presented the Cup. He had a word of cheer for every player before posing with the team for the lensmen.
Later the Indian team performed a victory lap before a full house.
India was runner up to Pakistan in 1982, '85 and '89 and to Korea in 1994. In 1999 they secured the third position, but emerged as the winners in the last edition in 2003 at Kuala Lumpur. Korea, seeking their third title here, was also the winners in 1999. Earlier, in the third and fourth place playoff match, Malaysia outplayed Japan [Images] 5-3.
The Malaysians went down fighting to Korea in the semifinals, while Japan was outplayed by India in the second semi-final.
In the fifth and sixth position palyoff match, China defeated former champions Pakistan 3-2, who failed to qualify for the knock out stage here.
Meanwhile, Bangladesh beat Hong Kong (China) 3-1 in the seventh and eighth position decider, while Sri Lanka [Images] blanked Singapore by six goals to finish at the ninth place, while Singapore finished at the tenth spot.
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