Sat, 02 Dec 2023

Hangzhou [China], October 4 (ANI): Continuing its dominating performance, India men's hockey team defeated South Korea 5-3 in the semi-final to set up a summit clash at the Asian Games.

Hardik Singh (5'), Mandeep Singh (11'), Lalit Kumar Upadhyay (15'), Amit Rohidas (24') and Abhishek (54') scored to guide the Indian men's hockey team to the final. Jung Manjae (17', 20', 42') scored a hat-trick for South Korea, as per Olympics.com.

The Indian men's hockey team will face the winner of the other semi-final match between China and Japan in the gold medal match on Friday.

If India wins the final, it will be its fourth gold at the Asian Games and the team will book a place at Paris Olympics games next year.

Earlier, the Craig Fulton-coached India had topped Pool A after winning all their group games. South Korea finished as Pool B runner-up.

India, third in the men's FIH rankings, started the match positively and went ahead five minutes into the match. A deft passing move down the right carved open the Korean defence before Hardik Singh slotted home to put India ahead.

Mandeep Singh could've doubled the advantage minutes later but the Indian forward, who had already scored 11 goals coming into the match, shot over the goal from close range.

Mandeep, however, didn't have to wait long for his 12th goal of the tournament as he tapped in a Gurjant Singh pass to give India a 2-0 lead. Lalit Kumar Upadhyay added one more to India's tally before the first quarter ended.

Jolted by the Indian hockey team's fiery start, four-time Asian Games hockey champions Korea found an early response in the second quarter as Jung Manjae scored two - the first from a clever penalty corner routine and the second from open play - to reduce the deficit to a single goal.

Just when it looked that the Koreans had turned the tides in their favour, Amit Rohidas restored a two-goal cushion for India with a thunderous drag flick from a penalty corner. India led 4-2 at half-time.

After the break, India looked the better of the two sides with Harmanpreet Singh running the play from deep. Despite the Indian dominance, it was South Korea who scored with Jung Manjae deflecting in from an indirect penalty corner to complete his hat-trick.

South Korea came out of the blocks hard in search of an equaliser in the final quarter and put the Indian defence under pressure. The Indian backline rode out the siege before India finally found some breathing room thanks to Abhishek.

Abhishek won the ball near the Korean circle before driving in through a powerful reverse hit. Up 5-3, India held on to secure the victory and make their way to the final. (ANI)

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