India beat S Korea, qualify for semis
India earned a hard fought 2-0 win over defending champions South Korea to enter the semi-finals of the Asia Cup tournament yesterday
V Raghunath gave India the lead through a penalty corner in the sixth minute and in-form striker Mandeep Singh struck the deciding goal in the 65th minute. The man of the match, however, was goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, who thwarted the efforts of Korean attack throughout the 70 minutes. India will meet Malaysia in the semi-finals. They play Bangladesh in their final league game tomorrow.
India did enough to seal the tie yesterday against a team which failed to convert five of their penalty corners and other scoring opportunities.
The sub-continental team was at the receiving end after Raghunath made it 1-0 with a clean hit towards the right of opposition goalkeeper Lee Myung Ho. It was also India’s sole penalty corner of the match.
The Koreans seemed desperate to equalise and penetrated into the Indian circle at will, so much so that they had 62 percent possession in the first 35 minutes. But every time they looked threatening, Sreejesh was ready at the goalpost.
The India defence was up to the task as well, showing that Dutch coach Roelant Oltmans has worked hard with them on an area considered the team’s weak point.
The second half did not see an increase in pace by either side as they kept playing on a cautious note. Indian captain Sardar Singh, recovering from an illness, was a prominent figure in the midfield as he prodded his attackers into action. It also seemed that the Koreans were happy to sit back and take in the attacks by India.
Until the second goal was scored, the situation remained tense for India. Mandeep Singh gave them the much needed cushion, slotting in from a diagonal pass from Dharamvir Singh with five minutes left in the game.