South Korea end India eves` World Cup hockey hopes
Kuala Lumpur: India`s World Cup dreams came crashing down as they lost 1-2 to South Korea in the semi-final of the 8th Women`s Asia Cup Hockey championship at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil here Thursday.
The Koreans, who have scored 31 goals in their three group matches, were on the attacking mode right from the start. They got both the goals in the first 10 minutes from penalty corner conversions.
Ritu Rani`s lone goal was not enough as India needed to win the tournament to clinch a berth in next year`s World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands.
The South Koreans took a 1-0 lead in the second minute after 24-year-old ace drag-flicker Cheon Seul Ki, a veteran of 71 matches, converted the first penalty corner. They doubled the lead in the ninth minute through Cheon Eun Bi, who has played 43 matches for Korea, slammed in from the second penalty corner.
In the remaining 25 minutes of the first half, the Indians pressed hard but the goal remained elusive. South Koreans defended well and went into the break with a 2-0 lead.
India, however, were quick to reduce the margin in the second half through Rani. The young forward, who had scored seven goals against Hong Kong China, converted a penalty corner in the 41st minute.
But the South Koreans held on to their slender lead to knock India out from the tournament.
India needed to win the tournament to qualify for the World Cup since South Korea and China have already booked their berths through the World Hockey League. In the other semi-final, Japan will take on China.