India thrashed 1-4 by South Korea in Asian Cup

Minnows India suffered a 1-4 thrashing at the hands of title contenders South Korea.

Updated: Jan 18, 2011, 22:10 PM IST

Doha: Minnows India suffered a 1-4 thrashing at the hands of title contenders South Korea to end their Asian Cup campaign on a humiliating note here on Tuesday.

Already knocked out of the competition, India gave
glimpses of their fighting abilities but that was not enough
to avoid their third defeat in as many games.

Bob Houghton`s boys conceded a staggering 13 goals in the
tournament while finding the nets three times.

Ji Dong Won scored a brace in the sixth and 23rd minutes
while Koo Ja Cheol and Son Heung Min found the target for
South Korea in the ninth and 81st minutes respectively.

Striker Sunil Chhetri reduced the margin in the 12th
minute in the last Group C match, which was played under cold
conditions and incessant rain.

South Korea finished second in Group C behind Australia
who finish on top after their 1-0 victory over Bahrain in
another match played simultaneously at Al Sadd Stadium.

Australia and South Korea ended their group assignments
on same seven points but the former topped the group on better
goal difference.

India, the lowest ranked side in the tournament, were
left to defend their citadel for most part with hardly any
look at the South Korea goal.

Had not goalkeeper Subrata Paul made some fine saves,
India would have lost by a bigger margin.

Captain Bhaichung Bhutia finally made his Asian Cup
appearance as he replaced Abbhishek Yadav in the 78th minute
to the loud cheer of more than 11,000 spectators at the Al
Gharafa Stadium but they failed to recover from the first half
1-3 deficit.

The Indians were cheered by a vocal crowd mainly made up
of Indian expatriates here but it did not make any difference
on the field as the gap in speed, class and technique between
the two sides was too wide.

The nimble footed South Koreans, one of the title
contenders, played their usual slick one-touch pass which
exposed the gaping holes at the Indian defence.

The trio of captain Park Ji Sung, Koo Ja Cheol and
striker Ji Dong Won gave a torrid time to Indian defenders who
were outpaced and outmanoeuvred with ease by the South
Koreans.

Left back Deepak Mondal was caught napping several times
against South Korean combine of Cha Du Ri, who plays for
Scottish top side Celtic and Koo Ja Cheol.

The Indian midfield was also almost non-existent with
captain Climax Lawrence and N P Pradeep struggling throughout
the match.

Just as midfielder Renedy Singh pulled his left
hamstring, India conceded their first goal.

Houghton replaced Renedy by left back Deepak Mandal and
Syed Rahim Nabi was sent at left wing. But Indian goalkeeper
Paul failed to clear a Park Ji Sung cross from the right and
and an unmarked Ji Dong Won headed the ball home in the sixth
minute.
Before Park Ji Sung got to the ball, South Korean
midfielder Koo Ja Cheol had handled the ball inside the box
but the referee did not award a free kick in favour of India.

South Korea doubled the lead in the ninth minute through
Koo Ja Cheol. Centre back Gouramangi Singh could not head out
a cross from the right to safety and Ji Dong Won headed down
for Cheol who gently sidestepped Paul before slotting the ball
home into the empty net.

Egged on by a vocal crowd, India fought back and they
took three minutes to reduce the margin with striker Chhetri
scoring from a penalty kick after he was fouled by Kwak Tae
Hwi in an aerial duel inside the box.

Indian goal was under constant pressure with Park Ji
Sung, Ji Dong and Cheol creating havoc. Surkumar Singh made a
valiant clearance from the goal-line in the 22nd minute.

In the 23rd minute, Cheol sent Ji Dong in the clear from
a wall pass and the later had to just tap the ball past an
on-rushing goalie Paul.

In the added time of the first half, Paul made a valiant
save when he blocked a Kwak Tae Hwi powerful header off a
cross from from Ki Sung Yueng.

Just like in the earlier two matches, India gave a better
show in the second session as they conceded only one goal
after the breather though South Korea missed several chances.

Houghton brought in Mehrajuddin Wadoo in place of Pradeep
but the Indian midfield was left to assist the back line to
defend the Indian citadel.

In the 61st minute, Paul was again in the thick of action
as he cleared a Heung Min strike from inside the box for a
corner.

Two minutes later, Min`s left footer was cleared by
Surkumar from the goal-line. Paul was the saviour again in the
66th minute as he dived to his left to palm away a free-kick
from Lee Yong Rae from outside the box.

In the 73rd minute, Ji Dong missed a sitter as he shot
over after Indian goalie found himself yards outside the goal
after being beaten in the air.

Playing in his first international match in five months
after suffering a calf injury, Bhutia could only have a few
touches on the ball and South Korea scored three minutes after
his entry.

Heung Min, who missed some easy chances, finally made
amends as he fired a cross from the right past goalie Paul.

Three minutes from time, India though almost scored their
second goal but Chhetri header from a Steven Dias corner was
saved from the goal-line by South Korean keeper Jung Sung
Ryong.

PTI

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