India beats Korea 5-3 to enter semifinals in men’s hockey

The win puts India firmly on top of Pool A with a humongous goal difference and a game against Sri Lanka in hand before the semifinals.

Even though it was India’s fourth consecutive win in the pool, it was a far from impressive display from Harendra Singh’s men against the Koreans.   -  AFP

Two goals in three minutes into the second half was the wake up call the Indian men’s hockey team needed to up its game against Korea in Pool A, winning 5-3 but not before giving a scare to P. R. Sreejesh and his men on Sunday.

As it stands, though, the win puts India firmly on top of the table with a humongous goal difference and a game against Sri Lanka in hand before the semifinals, awaiting Malaysia in the knockout round. Malaysia lost 1-4 to Pakistan in the last league game of the day to be placed second in Pool B for the time being.

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It looked to be yet another one-sided encounter in the tournament for the Indian side which has steamrolled all of its oppositions so far. This was until the double strike by Korean captain Manjae Jung in the 33rd and 35th minutes stunned the Indians. The defending champion had been cruising along until then, dominating and attacking at will even as Korea sat back and relied on counters.

The opening goal came in the first minute through a penalty stroke and the next four minutes later, Chinglensana deflecting a Manpreet Singh free hit in. A third goal from Lalit Kumar put India in control. Jung’s twin strikes past a lethargic defence, however, put the fight back into the side as India went out to restore its lead and was successful.

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Coach Harendra Singh, however, looked at the positives, giving credit to his team for picking up the intensity after conceding two goals. The team, however, would be hoping there would be no more here on.

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