South Korea demonstrated tactics sufficiently to score a narrow 34-32 victory over India in the opening Group 'A' league match of the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup at 'The Arena’ here on Friday.
After a very impressive opening entertainment show, South Korea, the bronze medallist at the Incheon Asian Games, scored the first point pinning down the Indian captain Anup Kumar on the mat.
India recovered quickly through a defensive effort and this paved the way for the quick return of Anup Kumar into action, but the South Koreans, who displayed terrific tackling and defensive technique right through the exciting 40-minute match, earned the first five big points with the brilliant Jang Kun Lee tallying nine raid points.
Though Anup Kumar was his usual self, winning nine raid points, India was quite patchy with Jasvir Singh not making any impression as a raider. He was substituted in the first half.
Rahul Chaudhari too was below par and India, burdened by the lack of form of two raiders in Jasvir and Chaudhari, leaned heavily on its captain. Thanks to Anup Kumar and Manjeet Chillar’s resilience, India led 18-13 at half time, but the inability to outwit the rivals in attack and defence did not allow the team to take a big lead and dominate the match.
The South Koreans were competitive with Jang Kun Lee making all the moves. Though he was not successful in making his raids in the first half beneficial to his side, he won the big points in the second half. But what crucially enabled South Koreans to be in the contest was the defensive show put up by Young Chang Ko.
The South Koreans logged 11 tackle points. Dong Geon Lee too played his part winning four touch points, including a bonus point while raiding.
With the Korean team having four players — Seong Ryeol Kim, Tae Deok Eom, Jang Kun Lee and Dong Ju Hong — who have played in the Pro Kabaddi, Koreans have shown they will be the team to beat in the World Cup.
The Indians appeared quite nervous and will have to improve its attacking and defensive capabilities in the next league matches, captain Anup Kumar admitted.
South Korea 34 bt India 32; Iran 52 bt USA 15