India thrashed 1-4 by South Korea in AFC Cup

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Philem Dipak Singh

Doha, Jan 18 (PTI) Minnows India suffered a 1-4 thrashingat the hands of title contenders South Korea to end theirAsian Cup campaign on a humiliating note here today.

Already knocked out of the competition, India gaveglimpses of their fighting abilities but that was not enoughto avoid their third defeat in as many games.

Bob Houghton''s boys conceded a staggering 13 goals in thetournament while finding the nets three times.

Ji Dong Won scored a brace in the sixth and 23rd minuteswhile Koo Ja Cheol and Son Heung Min found the target forSouth Korea in the ninth and 81st minutes respectively.

Striker Sunil Chhetri reduced the margin in the 12thminute in the last Group C match, which was played under coldconditions and incessant rain.

South Korea finished second in Group C behind Australiawho finish on top after their 1-0 victory over Bahrain inanother match played simultaneously at Al Sadd Stadium.

Australia and South Korea ended their group assignmentson same seven points but the former topped the group on bettergoal difference.

India, the lowest ranked side in the tournament, wereleft to defend their citadel for most part with hardly anylook at the South Korea goal.

Had not goalkeeper Subrata Paul made some fine saves,India would have lost by a bigger margin.

Captain Bhaichung Bhutia finally made his Asian Cupappearance as he replaced Abbhishek Yadav in the 78th minuteto the loud cheer of more than 11,000 spectators at the AlGharafa Stadium but they failed to recover from the first half1-3 deficit.

The Indians were cheered by a vocal crowd mainly made upof Indian expatriates here but it did not make any differenceon the field as the gap in speed, class and technique betweenthe two sides was too wide.

The nimble footed South Koreans, one of the titlecontenders, played their usual slick one-touch pass whichexposed the gaping holes at the Indian defence.

The trio of captain Park Ji Sung, Koo Ja Cheol andstriker Ji Dong Won gave a torrid time to Indian defenders whowere outpaced and outmanoeuvred with ease by the SouthKoreans.

Left back Deepak Mondal was caught napping several timesagainst South Korean combine of Cha Du Ri, who plays forScottish top side Celtic and Koo Ja Cheol.

The Indian midfield was also almost non-existent withcaptain Climax Lawrence and N P Pradeep struggling throughoutthe match.

Just as midfielder Renedy Singh pulled his lefthamstring, India conceded their first goal. (More) PTI PDS SHN

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