India down Korea to exact revenge

Akashdeep Singh scored two goals as India posted a comfortable 3-0 win over Asian champions South Korea to finish a lowly ninth in the men’s hockey World Cup at the Kyocera Stadium here on Saturday.

With this win in the ninth-place play-off match, India had managed to avenge upon their 3-4 loss to South Korea in the final of last year’s Asia Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia.

Akashdeep opened India’s account in the sixth minute by tapping in a square-pass from SV Sunil and then rounded off the scoring with a reverse hit in a crowded circle in the 50th minute.

In between, Rupinder converted a penalty stroke in the 42nd minute after his penalty corner flick was stopped by a defender with body on the goal-line.

India ended the World Cup one notch below their eighth-place finish at New Delhi edition in 2010.

The first raid gave India the lead in the sixth minute of play when captain Sardar Singh fed Sunil the ball on the right flank in a counter-attack starting from inside the Indian circle.

Sunil moved up, down the flank beating the only defender blocking his view of the goal and drew out the Korean goalkeeper before squaring the ball for Akashdeep to flick into an open goal.

South Korea’s goalkeeper Lee Myung-ho padded away a flick by Akashdeep off a Manpreet Singh pass four minutes into the second session before Sardar earned India their second penalty corner in the 42nd minute.

The second Indian penalty corner came after India sought a video referral that the ball had struck a Korean defender’s foot inside the circle. Rupinder’s drag-flick struck Hong Eun-seong’s body on the goal line and the resultant penalty stroke was converted by strapping defender.

Yuvraj Walmiki had a chance to increase India’s lead in the 48th minute when he received a diagonal ball from SK Uthappa on top of the circle and had only the goalkeeper to beat. But Walmiki’s reverse hit went wide.

Akashdeep then sent an opportunistic reverse hit into the boards in the 50th minute after a combined move between Sunil and Dharamvir Singh rattled the Korean defence.

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