~ Gurjant Singh scores a brilliant 59th-minute goal to keep India in the hunt for the Hero Asia Cup 2017 Final on Sunday ~
India held their nerve till the last hooter to hold defending Champions Korea to a 1-1 draw in their first Super 4s match here at the Hero Asia Cup 2017. It was Gurjant Singh’s 59th-minute goal that ensured India remained in the hunt for the Hero Asia Cup 2017 Final on Sunday. Jungjun Lee had earned Korea the 1-0 lead in the 41st minute.
India opened the game patiently, rotating the ball between themselves waiting for an opening into the Korean defence. Despite the several circle penetrations, it took until the 14th minute for the first real chance to materialize, as India won the first PC of the game. The opportunity went amiss though, Harmanpreet Singh attempting a different set piece, but a flick to injector Ramandeep Singh was blocked away by Korean defender. Earlier, Korea’s Mookyoung Lee made a brave attempt when he dribbled into India’s circle and made a diving effort to take a shot on goal. But he was wide off the mark.
After ending the first quarter in a stalemate, Korean defence continued to test the Indian forwards as they allowed little room for penetration. Meanwhile, the Indian defence stayed resolute in their circle to deny their feisty opponents a lead. Both teams couldn’t find a successful breakthrough as they went into half-time with the scoreboard reading 0-0.
Though India was attacking constantly, getting closer each time to finding a breakthrough, it didn’t help their cause with the Koreans constantly intercepting their passes. A close chance in the 40th minute saw Amit Rohidas assist Akashdeep Singh in the circle but the forward could not fashion a deflection. One minute later, Jungjun Lee fashioned a chance out of nothing, spinning away from his markers to unleash a shot on the goal; beating India goalkeeper Akash Chikte to the post taking a 1-0 lead.
Down to the final quarter with time ticking away, India attacked in droves but Korea stayed resilient in their defence. India removed their goalkeeper with less than four minutes to go for the match. India appealed for a PC in the 57th minute but the video umpire ruled otherwise.
However, the following minute, good counter by Sardar Singh saw the ball passed on to Gurjant Singh who won India their second PC of the match. But a video referral by Korea denied India the chance. It was tense moments in the Moulana Bhashani Hockey Stadium with spectators on their toes. India, however, held their nerve to come up with a brilliant attack that saw Akashdeep take a shot on goal but it bounced off only to find Gurjant close in on the goal and finish the job for India. The match ended in a 1-1 draw with both teams splitting points.