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India hockey women down South Korea

Singapore, Oct 30 (IANS) An inspired second half performance saw India outgun South Korea 2-1 in an exciting Pool encounter at the 4th Women Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament here on Sunday.

Rani (47th minute) and Deepika Thakur (54th) scored for India after Eeseul Baek had handed South Korea the lead in the 28th minute.

The win puts India on top of the pool standings.

A composed first quarter saw both sides challenge each other in a midfield battle. India were the ones who were pushed to the backfoot early on, conceding a penalty corner, but Indian goalkeeper Rajani's smart save ensured both teams went into the first break, locked in a stalemate.

Early in the second quarter, Korea's Baek scored to give her team a 1-0 lead. Though the Koreans kept up the pressure, the Indian defence ensured that they went into halftime down by a single goal.

The Indian eves stormed out of the blocks in the second half, and soon enough striker Rani scored India's first goal by tactfully converting a penalty corner to draw them level.

With the teams level, India were suddenly on the frontfoot, crowding the midfield and pushing the Koreans deep into their defensive area.

The fourth quarter was most exciting, keeping the spectators on the edge of their seats, as both teams pressed hard to take the lead.

It was Thakur's experience and skill that earned India their second goal when she eased past the South Korean defence, making her way into the their penalty area, finding enough space to swing the ball past the Korean keeper.

From being a goal down in the first half, India had stormed to a goal lead within 10 minutes of the fourth quarter.

It was a lead India fought to hold on, playing the final few minutes of the match smartly and cautiously, to earn a well-deserved victory.

India will next take on Malaysia, who have lost the two matches they have played so far in the tournament, on Tuesday.

--IANS

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