Indian men’s Hockey team edged past Korea 1-0, while Pakistan could managed to win against Malaysia in penalty shoot-out by 6-5 on sudden death at the Soenhak Hockey Stadium to reach a win away from Gold medal at Asian Games and a shot at qualification for Rio 2016 Olympics. Only the winner of Asian Games will qualify for the Rio 2016.
In the match between Malaysia and Pakistan, nothing could separate two teams in regulation time as it finished without a goal from anyside. In the shoot-out, it was level to 3-3 after regular 5 attempt, while Pakistan goalie Imran Butt saved one attempt by Malaysia in sudden death to take his team to final.
It was evident on the field that both India and Korea would not leave any stones unturned to claim the semi-final in their favour and be the very first team to qualify for the finale. Both the teams played an exciting clash which saw a powerful mix of attack and defence from both the sides as they did not let each other to cash on any opportunities and open the goal account for the first two quarters.
A hard-fought battle between the two teams continued till the very 43rd minute and it was only in the third quarter when the Indian forward Akashdeep Singh sneaked his way into the opponent’s D and pierced in a field goal to open the account for India in the 44th minute, which proved to be the winning goal for his team.
A strong struggle was visible from both the camps as India was trying to take their count ahead, Korea on the other hand were struggling to open their account and level the scores with India. Korea earned a penalty corner in the 58th minute which was successfully saved by Indian Goalkeeper P R Sreejesh. A splendid semi-final of the tournament saw an equally electrifying ending as Akashdeep Singh’s lone goal guided India to the finals. Indian Men Hockey team enters the final of the Asian Games after a period of 12 years.
Speaking on entering the final, the Indian Men Hockey Team’s Chief Coach Terry Walsh said, “I am really pleased to see the way these boys have played today. It was an important match and they played according to the strategies planned as well as keeping themselves calm and composed and did not leave any space for error. The whole team is excited to be the first contenders in the final and to have achieved our goals in the tournament as planned till now and our next goal is to win the final and book the berth for the 2016 Rio Olympics.”