India lose 1-2 to South Korea, end sixth in Azlan Shah
Ipoh: The Indian hockey team`s campaign in the Azlan Shah Cup ended on a disappointing note as they finished sixth after going down 1-2 to South Korea in their classification match on Sunday.
Two penalty corner flicks by Nam Hyun-Woo left the Indian defence stunned, giving the Koreans a 2-0 lead at the interval.
India tried to come back into the contest and reduced the lead on a second-half field goal from Vikram Pillay, but the disjointed lineup of strikers failed to capitalise on the chances India managed to create.
India and South Korea were joint champions in 2010 when the final was disrupted by heavy rain. The Indians had earlier won the title outright in 2009 in the seven-team competition.
The defensive woes continued throughout the tournament, but today the team did not betray their nerves so much. However, trailing by two goals at the interval proved too much for the erratic strikers to make up.
South Korea took the lead in the eighth minute on their first penalty corner as Nam placed the ball in the corner to the right of the goalkeeper, who was stunned by the shot and did not even move as the flick went past him.
Indian striker Shivendra Singh missed a sitter in the 12th minute when he could not trap a pass from the goal-line. India`s first penalty corner four minutes later also did not make an impact.
The Koreans went ahead by two goals on their second penalty corner as Nam sent the ball soaring into the net, this time to the left of the custodian.
The Koreans posed a danger to the Indian goal again in the 30th minute on a counter attack, but defender Diwakar made a diving clearance from under You Hyo-Sik`s stick before he could move into the circle.
India wasted another penalty corner early in the second session before Pillay capitalised on Gurbaz Singh`s cross from right.
India`s best chance to equalise came in the 43rd minute when Gurwinder Singh Chandi had the ball in the goalmouth and squared it for Shivendra, who did not stay in the clear position but went behind the goalkeeper. The ball went to his right.
India pressed hard in the last 15 minutes and the Koreans had some trouble keeping them at bay, but the story on mis-passing continued.