Doha: Minnows India suffered a 1-4 thrashing at the hands of title contenders South Korea to end their Asian Cup campaign on a humiliating note here, on Tuesday. Already knocked out of the competition, India gave glimpses of their fighting abilities but that was not enough to avoid their third defeat in as many games. Bob Houghtons boys conceded a staggering 13 goals in the tournament while finding the nets three times.
Ji Dong Won scored a brace in the sixth and 23rd minutes while Koo Ja Cheol and Son Heung Min found the target for South Korea in the ninth and 81st minutes respectively.
Striker Sunil Chetri reduced the margin in the 12th minute in the last Group C match, which was played under cold conditions and incessant rain.
South Korea finished second in the Group C behind Australia who finish on top after their 1-0 victory over Bahrain in another match played simultaneously at Al Sadd Stadium. Australia and South Korea ended their group assignments on same seven points but the former topped the group on better goal difference.
India, the lowest ranked side in the tournament, were left to defend their citadel for most part with hardly any look at the South Korea goal. Had not goalkeeper Subrata Paul made some fine saves, India would have lost by a bigger margin.
Captain Bhaichung Bhutia finally made his Asian Cup appearance as he replaced Abbhishek Yadav in the 78th minute to the loud cheer of more than 11,000 spectators at the Al Gharafa Stadium but they failed to recover from the first half 1-3 deficit.
The Indians were cheered by a vocal crowd mainly made up of Indian expatriates here but it did not make any difference on the field as the gap in speed, class and technique between the two sides was too wide.
The nimble footed South Koreans, one of the title contenders, played their usual slick one-touch pass which exposed the gaping holes at the Indian defence.
The trio of captain Park Ji Sung, Koo Ja Cheol and striker Ji Dong Won gave a torrid time to Indian defenders who were outpaced and outmanoeuvred with ease by the South Koreans.
Left back Deepak Mondal was caught napping several times against South Korean combine of Cha Du Ri, who plays for Scottish top side Celtic and Koo Ja Cheol. The Indian midfield was also almost non-existent with captain Climax Lawrence and N P Pradeep struggling throughout the match. (PTI)