Asian Cup 2022: India aim straight win over Korea to book last place | Ice Hockey News

JAKARTA: Defending champions India would be hoping for an aggregate win over South Korea in their final Super 4 round robin league match to secure their place in the final of the Asia Cup men’s ice hockey tournament here on Tuesday.
India almost secured a place in the title fight on Sunday before Razie Rahim’s hat-trick in a thrilling 3-3 draw proved Malaysia’s savior in their second Super 4 encounter.
Earlier, India defeated Japan 2-1 in their first game on Saturday.
In the Super 4 table, South Korea leads with a goal difference of +2 (5:3), India (GD) is in second place with +1 (5:4).
Japan with two losses is out of the equation while Malaysia (GD) 0 (5-5) has an outside chance if they can beat Japan by a significant margin (minimum 2 goals) provided the game between India and South Korea ends in a draw.
But next Tuesday, the Indians would try to avoid the permutations and combinations with a clear win over the Koreans.
It would be easier said than done, however, as the Koreans saw a completely different side in the Suer 4s after drawing 2-2 with Malaysia and then beating Japan 3-1.
The Indians also upped their game by leaps and bounds after their first two pool games.
Not only did India pull off an impossible task of beating hosts Indonesia by a margin of more than 15 goals in their last group match and qualifying for the Super 4, they also clinched a narrow 2-1 win over Japan, who kept them in the Final with 2:5 defeated precursors.
On Sunday against Malaysia, the Indians fought valiantly, falling back by two goals in the last quarter to lead 3-2 before Rahim converted a penalty corner from the final honk to snatch the win from India’s hands, which would have secured their place can the summit fight.
The Indian forward line looked impressive with the likes of Uttam Singh, SV Sunil and Pawan Rajbhar shining brightly with their diligent play.
In fact, it was Sunil who scored a fine goal from a tight angle against Malaysia after Rajbhar’s strong play in midfield had set up for Malaysia.
Indeed, the Indians created numerous chances but in the last third the strikers missed the decisive touch, an area head coach Sardar Singh wanted his boys to improve on.
The midfield have fared well so far, but it’s the Birendra Lakra-led defence, who need to pull their socks up as they conceded unnecessary penalty corners from which the Malaysians benefited.
Suraj Karkera was impressive under the Indian goal post, making numerous saves with his alertness and positioning.
But the Indians will have to do their best against the Koreans, because their opponents are known for their fast counterattacks.
Japan meets Malaysia in the other Super 4 game of the day.

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