Jakarta (Indonesia): Defending champions India continued their stunning performance as they notched up a 5-3 victory against South Korea in their fourth Pool A match to enter the semifinals of the men’s hockey competition in the ongoing Asian Games here on Sunday.
This was table topper India’s fourth successive victory in Pool A after winning 17-0 against Indonesia, 26-0 against Hong-Kong China and 8-0 win against Japan in their first three matches respectively.
It was drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh (1′), Chinglensana Singh Kangujam (5′), Lalit Upadhyay (16′), Manpreet Singh (49′) and Akashdeep Singh (56′) who contributed to India’s scoreline. For Korea, Skipper Manjae Jung (33′, 35′) and Jhongyun Jang (60′) scored.
The winning team’s first goal came from a penalty stroke scored by Rupinder Pal Singh. It was a goal-bound ball stopped by body of the last Republic Of Korea defender that resulted in them conceding the penalty stroke. The team further won two PCs in the final minute of the first quarter.
While Rupinder’s first flick had to be taken again as it was blocked by the first rusher, his second attempt was well-saved by the Republic Of Korea goalkeeper.
However, only minutes earlier, Rupinder set-up India’s second goal superbly converted by Vice Captain Chinglensana Singh Kangujam. It was a brilliant showcase of one-touch hockey where Rupinder’s long-pass from the centre of the midfield found an impressive deflection off Chinglensana’s stick.
India continued to play with superb speed, with impressive counterattacks that put the Republic Of Korea defence on immense pressure. India’s third goal came in the 16th Minute through a smart scoop pass from Simranjeet Singh that was well controlled by Lalit Upadhyay who had positioned well to take a successful deflection that landed the ball over the Republic Of Korea goalkeeper into the net.
Korea, however, made brave attempts to overcome the initial setback as they created chances to score. In the 24th minute, Republic Of Korea won two back-to-back PCs but couldn’t make much of the opportunity as India goalkeeper PR Sreejesh and first rusher Manpreet Singh’s efforts respectively ensured India kept a clean sheet.
In the following minute, Amit Rohidas helped win India’s fourth PC of the match but could not convert. Korea immediately launched a quick-fire counterattack, where in just three touches, Republic Of Korea landed in their striking circle. But the shot taken was way off the mark.
Korea made a strong start to the third quarter when a long pass into the circle trying to fetch a perfect deflection, unfortunately, hit the cross-bar. But a smart referral saw Korea win a PC. Sreejesh’s block in an attempt to clear the ball was deemed dangerous as it hit the Republic Of Korea striker in the circle. This time Korea used a smart variation which was successfully converted by the team’s skipper Manjae Jung.
The Indian Men’s Hockey Team will take on Sri Lanka in their last Pool A match on August 28.