Ipoh: A defensive lapse towards the end cost India dear as they went down 1-2 against South Korea to suffer their second consecutive defeat in the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey tournament, here on Sunday.
After their spirited fight in the 3-4 defeat against the Australians, much was expected from the Indians but they disappointed as they were outplayed in the first half by the Koreans who led 1-0 through a goal from Kang Moon Kweon.
The Indians though regrouped in the second session and found the equaliser in the 39th minute with Malak Singh finding the target.
The goal spurred the young Indians, mostly the hopefuls of the Junior World Cup later this year, as they kept the Korean defence busy with numerous raids but conceded a goal which was result of a lapse in concentration.
Kweon scored his second goal of the match 10 minutes before the hooter via a deflection off a long hit from outside the 25 yards with at least three Indian defenders caught napping.
After this loss, the Indians will find it difficult to qualify for the final in the six-team tournament. Two top teams from the round-robin league will play in the final.
In the first half, India sat deep and looked for chances in counter-attack but they failed to get any. Michael Nobbs' boys could not get a single shot on the target in the first session.
As the match wore on, the nippy Koreans took control of the game as they got five penalty corners in the opening session as against none by the Indians. Goalkeeper P Sreejesh continued his superb form in the Indian goal after his fine show against the Australians on Saturday. But for Sreejesh, the Korean scoreline in the first half would have been much more.
In another match, Australia crushed Pakistan 6-0 for their second consecutive win in the tournament. (PTI)