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Asian Champions hockey: India rout South Korea

Source: PTI
Last updated on: September 06, 2011 16:03 IST

A young Indian team showed fantastic temperament to beat South Korea 5-3 and enhance its chances of making it to the final of the Asian Champions Trophy hockey, in Ordos, China, on Tuesday.

India is now atop the group with seven points from three matches.

Michael Nobbs's bravehearts played at blistering pace, scoring the first four goals in less than 30 minutes from the start.

India scored through Rupinder Singh (4th minute), Gurwinder Singh Chandi (5th), SV Sunil (7th), Rajpal Singh (24th), while Lee Nam Yong (8th, 26th) struck twice as the teams went into the breather 4-2.

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Yuvraj Walmiki's strike in the 62nd minute ensured that Indians would end up with full points, although Nam Hyun Woo pulled one back two minutes from the hooter.

On a day when the FIH decided to take away the rights of hosting Champions Trophy from India, the victory should certainly act as a big morale booster for the team.

India's coach Michael Nobbs said, "It's a great win and coming from a young side augurs well for hockey in India."

Japan shock Pakistan

In another match, Japan fought back from a goal down to stun title contenders Pakistan 3-1.

Japan were at the receiving end in the first session after Muhammad Rizwan had given Asian Games champions Pakistan the lead in the fifth minute.

However, they hung on and equalised at the stroke of half-time through Koji Kayukawa and then slammed two more goals through Kenta Tanaka in the last 10 minutes to run away winners.

It was the first defeat for Pakistan in three matches. They now have six points while Japan have four points from three matches.

Pakistan's defeat left the tournament wide open as, apart from hosts China, all the teams have a chance of making it to the final.

Malaysia down China

In the day's earlier match, Malaysia beat China 4-2.

After Malaysia had taken a 2-0 lead, China fought back to make it 2-2 but the Asian Games silver medallists were too strong on the counters as they scored in the 53rd and 60th minutes to gain their first three points after two defeats.

India's early onslaught flattens Korea

India's blitzkrieg in the first seven minutes, when they scored three goals, broke the back of the Korean side.

Gurwinder Singh ChandiKorea's strategy flopped as they desperately tried to recover from the damage done by the Indian forwards.

The Indian forwards stretched the Korean defence on both the flanks, though the goals came mainly from the left.

In the third minute, India earned its  first penalty-corner, but Korean goalkeeper Young Moon took it on his pads and the rebound hit a Korean defender's feet.

The resultant second consecutive penalty-corner saw Walmiki's flick towards goal hit a defender and the umpire pointed for a stroke. Rupinder's low flick beat Korean custodian Young to give the Indians the lead.

Exactly a minute later, Gurwinder Singh Chandi raced with the ball on the left flank, dribbled past three defenders and let loose a reverse shot that beat the Korean goalkeeper -- 2-0.

In the seventh minute, Ignace Tirkey initiated a brilliant move down the left flank and essayed a brilliant through for Chandi, who moved in, cutting past two Korean defenders, and passed to an unmarked SV Sunil in the striking circle.

Sunil did well enough to smack it past the hapless Korean goalie, as India increased their tally to 3-0.

Stunned by the triple strike in three minutes, the Koreans got back into action and pulled one back in the eighth minute when Lee Nam Yong deflected a cross into the goal.

After a frenetic five minutes of goal-scoring, the Koreans tried to slow down the pace in order to regroup.

Slowly their midfield exerted pressure, but the Indian midfield and defence played well ahead of their markings. The Korean through passes were picked up in the midfield.

India's goalkeeper Bharat Chetri also brought off some sharp saves off a few brilliant deflections from the Korean forwards.

Against the run of play, India had a counter-attack in the 24th minute. Chandi raced in, dribbling past a host of defenders, and laid the ball to Mujtaba, who passed to Rajpal Singh and the Indian captain did the rest for his team's fourth goal.

In the 26th minute, Korea launched an attack and a hit got deflected by Lee for his second goal of the match, as Korea reduced the margin to 2-4.

India had a golden chance in the 30th minute to increase the lead but the Korean custodian effected a goalline save off Rupinder Pal's shot from a penalty-corner as India went into break ahead 4-2.

The second half saw both the teams playing with reduced pace. In the 43rd minute, India had their fourth penalty-corner but Rupinder Pal's flick went out.

Korea was reduced to 10 men for 10 minutes when Sae Lee Rom was shown his second yellow card of the match. India took advantage of the situation and attacked to earn couple of penalty-corners in succession.

V Raghunath's flick of the fifth penalty-corner hit the cross bar and came back into play. The sixth penalty-corner was saved by the Korean goalkeeper as he charged out to clear it.

With 10 minutes remaining, India had their seventh penalty-corner but Rupinder's weak flick was easily saved by Young Moon.

India conjured up one of their best moves in the 62nd minute when Sarvanjit Singh moved into the striking circle, tapped it for Chandi, who, after a deft tap, gave it to an unmarked Walmiki, who scored the fifth and final goal.

Such was India's dominance that Korea could only earn only one penalty-corner in the 68th minute, which they duly converted with a high flick. Korea have six points from three games, after two wins and a defeat.

Photograph: Getty Images

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