Goalkeeper Kim thwarts all Indian attempts to break deadlock
Defending champion and Olympic bronze-medallist India was held to a 2-2 draw by a fighting Korea in their opening match of the Hero Asian Champions Trophy men’s hockey tournament here on Tuesday.
Playing their first tournament after the Tokyo Olympics campaign, the Indians started brightly and scored in the fourth minute through Lalit Upadhyay before vice-captain Harmanpreet Singh converted a penalty corner in the 18th minute to double the lead.
Turning the tide
Korea fought back after the change of ends and scored through Jang Jong-hyun in the 41st minute and Kim Sung-hyun in the 46th minute to draw level.
Korea grew in confidence as the match progressed and pressed the Indian defence hard.
India also had numerous chances, including penalty corners, but failed to utilise the opportunities. The match ended in a stalemate as Kim Jae-hyeon in the Korean goal pulled off numerous brilliant saves to help his side steal a point from the game.
The last encounter between the two sides ended in a 1-1 draw in the last edition of the tournament.
India will next play Bangladesh on Wednesday.
It did not take long for India to surge ahead through Lalit, who elegantly controlled the ball just outside the circle and dodged past three Korean defenders to slot in past Kim.
While the Indians played their natural attacking game from the outset, the Koreans preferred to sit back and defend deep and rely mostly on counter-attacks.
India continued its dominance in the second quarter and secured back-to-back penalty corners. While the first effort by Varun Kumar was brilliantly saved by Kim, Harmanpreet converted the next.
Down by two goals, the Koreans tried to force their way back into the game in the remaining minutes of the second quarter but India defended doggedly.
But the picture was completely different after the cross-over as Korea looked more purposeful and secured three consecutive penalty corners in the 41st minute and Jang was bang on target with the last try.
Minutes later, Gursahibjit Singh’s shot from top of the circle went wide of the target.
The Koreans continued to put pressure on the Indian defence in search of the equaliser and they succeeded when Kim Sung-hyun tapped in a drive at the near post from a drive from the left flank.
A shocked India had its chances in the form of three more penalty corners but failed to cash in on any.
India 2 (Lalit Upadhyay 4, Harmanpreet Singh 18) drew with Korea 2 (Jang Jong-hyun 41, Kim Sung-hyun 46).
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