THE HAGUE (Netherlands), June 14 (IANS): India put on an attacking display of hockey to beat South Korea 3-0 at the Kyocera Stadium and finish ninth in the FIH World Cup here Saturday.
Akashdeep Singh (6th, 50th) struck a brace while Rupinder Pal Singh converted a penalty corner in the 43rd minute as India finished ninth, one place below their FIH World Ranking and South Korea finished three places below their seventh place ranking.
India found both their attacking flair and, for the most part, their defensive discipline. The first India goal came from the hard running of SV Sunil. His blistering pace saw him leave the Korea defence standing, and his slipped pass was sent with pin point accuracy for Akashdeep to slot home.
The Korean forwards tried to create opportunities as they chased for an equaliser, but P.R. Sreejesh has had an outstanding tournament in goal and he was up to anything thrown at him.
At the other end, his Korea counterpart Lee Myungho was playing his part in keeping the score attainable, notably a tremendous save from Rupinder's penalty corner and several further saves from the incursions of the India forwards.
Despite Lee's heroics, India added two more goals in the second half. First, a penalty corner struck by Rupinder hit a defender on the line to earn India a penalty stroke. The tall defender composed himself and slotted home to double the lead.
Korea still kept playing, their physical conditioning allowing them to pressure the India defence. Their case was helped when Gurbaj Singh was dismissed for a poor tackle, but despite India being reduced to 10 men for 10 minutes, Korea were unable to make inroads. Their tactic of playing down the right-hand side was met by a solid India defence, with the aerial ball a much used tool in India's ability to clear the ball.
The game was put beyond doubt when an aerial from Rupinder released Akashdeep, whose one-on-one with keeper Lee resulted in a loose ball falling to Sunil. He slipped his pass back to Akashdeep (49'), who tomahawked it into the goal and sealed the game for India.