Asian Games Hockey: India in final after beating South Korea 1-0

Written by: IANS
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India's Sunil Vitalacharya Sowmarpet and goal scorer Akashdeep Singh celebrate their victory over South Korea during their Men's Hockey semi-final match at the Asian Games in Incheon on Tuesday.
Incheon, Sep 30: Akashdeep Singh scored a brilliant field goal to help a spirited India beat hosts Korea 1-0 and enter the final of the men's hockey competition of the 17th Asian Games for the first time 12 years, here today.

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After a barren opening half, it took a gem of a goal from Akashdeep to break the deadlock in the 44th minute of the match. Indian men's hockey team, which last made it to the final of the Asiad way back in 2002 Busan Games, will now face Pakistan in the summit clash on Thursday.

The Indians were by far the dominant side in the entire 60 minutes and controlled the proceedings from the word go. The Koreans played catch-up hockey throughout the match but failed to break the resolute Indian defence.

There was hardly any clear scoring opportunity for the Koreans, whereas India threatened the opponent goal throughout the encounter. India had the first shave at the goal in the fifth minute of the game from a counter-attack but Dharamvir Singh missed a sitter as he overrun a pass from S V Sunil with only the Korean goalkeeper Myungho Lee to beat.

Three minutes into the second quarter, India earned two back-to-back penalty corners but Korean custodian Lee made a fantastic save to his right to deny V R Raghunath a goal. After a goalless half time, India kept up the pressure and mounted numerous raids on the Korean citadel only to be disappointed by the misfiring forwardline.

Ramandeep Singh and Gurvinder Singh Chandi once again proved to be a big let down upfront. The Indian defense, which had a habit of breaking down under pressure, had a fantastic outing today. The likes of Birendra Lakra, Raghunath, Manpreet Singh and Rupinderpal Singh stood like a rock to thwart any danger to their goal.


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