London: Nikkin Thimmaiah, who has often been the go-to man for India in clashes against Korea proved to be the one yet again at the Hero Champions Trophy.
India’s Nikkin Thimmaiah (centre) celebrates after scoring the second goal during the Champions Trophy match against South Korea in London yesterday. PIC/Getty Images
Thimmaiah pushed home a perfect pass from Talwinder Singh three minutes from the end for what turned out to the match-winner. It was India’s second win in four matches took their points tally to seven and join Australia, who have played one game less.
The win still leaves the Indians with a chance to get into the title clash on Friday. For the fourth time in last four clashes Thimmaiah has been on the scoresheet and this one proved to be a match-winner.
The win apart, India’s big satisfaction may well be that they did not concede a single penalty corner, though they themselves wasted three.
After two goalless quarters, in which neither team managed even a penalty corner, India finally struck in the 39th minute with a peach of a goal from SV Sunil, who has been India’s outstanding player in the Hero Champions Trophy.
Manpreet picked the ball from somewhere around the middle of the field and put Akashdeep Singh in possession. He in turn made his way to the top of the circle and passed to India’s skipper of the day, Sunil, who weaved his way inside. With the Korean goalkeeper Doopyo rushing a bit too early and committing himself, Sunil sidestepped and pushed into an empty goal for the first strike of the day.
India went into the final quarter with a one-goal advantage and it seemed they might squeeze through with that despite some desperate Korean attempts.
Then all of a sudden Lee Namyong cleared a long ball from the middle of the field and it went all the way into the circle where it was deflected in by Kim Juhun.