Asian Champions Trophy 2016: India held to 1-1 draw with South Korea
Lalit Upadhyay saved the blushes for the Indian team with the equaliser.
The Indian men's hockey team played their second match of the 2016 Asian Champions Trophy against 11th ranked South Korea in Kuantan District, Malaysia. India had beaten Japan 10-2 in their first game of the tournament and everyone expected the Men in Blue to get the win over South Korea, however, the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
India falls behind to South Korea in the first half
India ranked 6th in the world came into the game looking confident and dominated the possession with a whopping 63% in the first half and 17 circle entries with Indian striker Talwinder Singh starring in the attack for India with two consecutive attempts on goal. Talwinder would have scored if not for the brilliant reflexes from the South Korean keeper
The Indian team was on the brink of conceding a goal with just four minutes to go in the first quarter when a backpass from Jasjeet Singh to Sreejesh was intercepted by the sliding Korean striker Seo L but he missed the target.
Eventually growing in confidence, the Koreans started attacking down the flanks shifting their focal point, with the Indian defenders being lazy with their backtracking.
The biggest shock of the match came when 30-year-old South Korean Jeong Junwoo deflected a shot past Indian goalkeeper Sreejesh to give the minnows the first goal of the match. After taking the lead, South Korea started slowing things down a bit taking their time whenever the ball went out of play.
Both Korea and India had missed chances in the first half with Seo L scooping over the bar and Sardar Singh taking a shot on goal which hit the foot of the Korean keeper. The Indian side went into the half-time break surprisingly trailing 1-0.
India comes back strong scoring early in the third quarter
The delay tactics from the Koreans, however, went to vain when Lalit Upadhyay stood up for India scoring the equaliser with three minutes in the third quarter as he took a brilliant turn before sending the ball blazing past the keeper to the right bottom corner.
Indian fans were left nervous when Indian defender Surinder Kumar received a green card with just five minutes left in the last quarter reducing India to 10 men. However, South Korea failed to capitalise with the match ending in a 1-1 draw.
The draw came as a blow to India as they missed out on three important points. India digressed from their initial game of possession and the midfield looked non-existent in the second half as a unit.
India might have more shots but Korea have had the better clear-cut chances in the game. India next faces Pakistan on Sunday while the 11th ranked South Korea side takes on China on Monday.