India thrash South Korea 5-3 in Asian Champions Trophy
Ordos (China): A young Indian team showed fantastic temperament in vanquishing South Korea 5-3 thereby setting up a strong possibility of making it to the final of the Asian Champions Trophy being played.
India now are on top of the group with seven points from three matches followed by Pakistan and Korea.
Michael Nobbs`s bravehearts played at blistering pace scoring the first four goals in less than half an hour`s time.
India scored through Rupinder Singh (4th), Gurwinder Singh Chandi (5th), SV Sunil (7th), Rajpal Singh (24th) to make it four for the Indians. In the meantime, Lee Nam Yong (8th, 26th) struck twice to make it 4-2 during the first half.
It was Yuvraj Walmiki`s strike in the 62nd minute that ensured that Indians will end up with full points although Nam Hyun Woo pulled one back two minutes from final hooter.
On a day when the FIH decided to take away the rights of hosting Champions Trophy from India, the victory would certainly act as a big morale booster.
Indian coach Michael Nobbs said,"It`s a great win and coming from a young side augurs well for hockey in India."
India`s blitzkrieg in the first seven minutes when they scored three goals broke the back of the Korean side. Their strategy went up in smoke 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 their first penalty corner but the Korean goalkeeper Young Moon took it on the pads as the rebound hit a Korean defender`s feet.
The second consecutive penalty corner resulted in a melee as Walmiki`s flick towards goal hit the defender as the umpire pointed for a stroke. Rupinder`s low flick beat Korean custodian Young as Indians opened their account.
Exactly a minute later, Gurwinder Singh Chandi raced away with the ball on the left flank, dribbled past three defenders and let loose a reverse shot that beat the Korean goalkeeper to make it 2-0.
In the 7th 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 it to an unmarked SV Sunil in the striking circle.
Sunil did well enough to smack it past a hapless Korean goalie as India increased their tally to 3-0.
Stunned by triple strike in three minutes, the Koreans got back into action and pulled one back in the 8th minute when Lee Nam Yong deflected in a cross.
After a frenetic five minutes of goal scoring, the Koreans tried slow the pace a bit in order to regroup.
Slowly their midfield exterted pressure but the Indian midfield and defence were playing well ahead of their markings. Korean through passes were being picked up in the midfield.
Indian 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 which saw Chandi race in dribbling past a host of defenders to give it to Mujtaba who passed to Rajpal singh for the Indian captain to score his team`s fourth goal.