Donghae City, May 19: India held hosts South Korea to a 1-1 draw in a round robin match of the 5th Womens Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament at the Sunrise Stadium here on Saturday.
With this draw, the Indian team, led by experienced defender Sunita Lakra, go into Sunday’s final as the table toppers.
Earlier in the tournament, India beat Japan (4-1), China (3-1) and Malaysia (3-2).
Despite South Korea’s high press right from the start, India managed to win the first penalty corner of the match in the fourth minute.
But drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur’s flick was padded away by the Korean goalkeeper. Though India made forays into the striking circle, breaking the Korean defence was an uphill task.
South Korea, meanwhile, were the first to make a breakthrough when they forced an error to win a penalty corner in the opening minute of the second quarter.
Seul Ki Cheon was brilliant with her drag-flick as she struck the ball to the right corner of the goal, almost making it impossible for India goalkeeper Savita to save.
The following minutes were tense as the Korean defence did their best to keep India from scoring.
After no goals by either teams in the third quarter, an infringement while attempting to defend a shot on goal by a Korean attacker saw India concede a penalty corner at the start of the fourth period.
An ambitious variation by the Koreans however didn’t pay off as it was off target. Almost immediately, forward Lalremsiami helped India win a penlaty corner.
While Gurjit’s flick rebounded off the goalkeeper’s pads, Lalremsiami was quick to pick up the ball and make a diving effort to score the equaliser.
In the 54th minute, South Korea won another penalty corner, but Indian goalkeeper Swati was splendid in her effort to block the goal. Though both teams upped their ante in attack, they could not muster a goal with the match ending in a draw. IANS