India held Korea with a 2-2 draw on the inaugural day of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2015 at Ipoh, Malaysia, today. While Australia outclassed Canada by 7-0 and New Zealand defeated hosts Malaysia by 4-2 in other two matches of day.
The match between the two Asian teams turned out to be exciting as the teams were seen in complete action not letting the other team taking advantage on the scoring prospects, but the Indian fans were seen blaming the Hockey India, Sports Channels and Government for not making live broadcast available. They want to see their heroes playing in such an important international tournament but sadly, it’s not available in India.
In the first quarter of the game, India was seen attacking from both the flanks trying to find the net but impeded by the Korean defence. The high spirited Indian team took the lead and scored the first goal of the match in the 11th minute which came through the stick of Nikkin Thimmaiah with a field effort. Putting all efforts to equalize the scores, Korea’s counter attack was cleverly answered by Birendra Lakra who tactfully swept the ball outside and cleared for India. India was seen dominating largely the first quarter of the game and the score board read 1-0 in favour of India at the end of it.
With the start of the second quarter, India without any failure kept on attacking the Korean defence as Dharamvir passed the ball to Ramandeep who surged ahead towards the crossbar but his attempts were saved by the Korean goalie. Some good interplay was seen between the Indian boys but all their efforts went in vain when Korea hit the equalizer in the 25th minute by Hyesung Hyun who flicked the ball inside the net. With the end of the first half, the scores were leveled at 1-1.
Unfolding the third quarter, India comfortably went on attack not giving the Korean team an easy time. Standing all alone in the India’s D, Captain Seungil Lee attempts to make a way for himself was stopped by Rupinder as he brilliantly intercepted a clear pass. India’s goalkeeper PR Sreejesh seemed to be a bit cautious on the flanks when Korea attempted twice to make a shot towards the goal and saved successfully. By the end of the third quarter, the scores were deadlocked at 1-1 as neither of the teams score.
In the last quarter, the game reached an intense phase where both the teams were evidently under a constant pressure to score. The momentum shifted to Koreans who bounced back in the 53rd minute and took the lead through Seongkyu Kim. India equalised as VR Raghunath successfully converted a penalty corner in the 56th minute of the game. With just four minutes left for the final whistle to blow, the two teams were not able to add any further goals to their account and held the game with a 2-2 draw.
India will play its next match against New Zealand on 6th April 2015 at 1540 IST.