Chennai: It couldn’t be confirmed whether the Indian team went for a Chak De India show prior to their title round clash against Korea, but it won’t surprise if the Shah Rukh Khan-starrer had anything to do with the inspiring performance that saw the hosts maul Korea 7-2 to retain the BSNL Asia Cup hockey title on Sunday.
In the ill-tempered final at the packed Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium, India played like a well-oiled machine to take the fizz out of the Doha Asian Games champions.
Star striker Prabhjot Singh (31st, 64th) and Rajpal Singh (42nd, 55th) struck a brace each, while Shivendra Singh (4th), S.V. Sunil (13th) and Ignace Tirkey (53th) netted one each in India’s fairytale win, while Jang Jong Hyun (9th) and Oh Dae Keun (68th) sounded the board for Korea.
This was India’s seventh successive win and their second against Korea in the event.
A heated exchange, pushing and shoving during the break and a seven-minute walkout by the Koreans protesting against an Indian goal in the 42nd minute created some tension during the summit clash.
In the fourth minute, Indian captain Prabodh Tirkey made his way from the centre line and covered about 15 yards, dodging past a couple of defenders to pass the ball to Prabhjot in the circle.
A Korean defender blocked him, but Shivendra showed opportunism in latching on to the ball to give India an early lead. Korea found the equaliser via a penalty stroke, awarded when goalkeeper Baljit Singh held the ball under his right leg while trying to clear a shot from Yoon Sung Hoon. Penalty corner specialist Hyun made no mistake to draw parity.
The hosts shot into the lead again four minutes later when an alert Sunil successfully deflected an electrifying shot from veteran Dilip Tirkey.
The Indians extended the lead off a counter-attack with Sardar Singh intercepting the ball from Korean captain Seo Jong Ho and passing it to Tushar Khandekar, who moved ahead menacingly and gave the ball to Prabhjot.
After trading a few passes, Prabhjot put it past the Korean goalkeeper as India went into the break with a 3-1 lead.
As the hooter went up, Prabhojt was involved in a brawl and was sent off by Ghanaian umpire Richmond Attipoe for attacking a Korean player.
Hell broke loose as both sides became involved in a heated exchange and started pushing and shoving each other.
They were eventually pacified and later Prabhjot was shown a yellow, leading to a temporary suspension, instead of the red. Rajpal increased lead to 4-1 in the second half through a superb field goal.
Ignace showed alacrity in taking the ball between the legs of a defender and capped it with a peach of a goal (5-1).
India’s sixth goal came from an excellent effort. They cashed in on the demoralised Koreans when Shivendra Singh’s shot after a Prabhjot pass went in between the legs of a host of defenders. Rajpal, waiting like a hawk, sent the ball home (6-1).
Prabhjot slotted in the seventh goal after a superb combined move between him and Tushar Kandekar in the 65th minute.
The Koreans pulled one back in the dying minutes for a consolation goal.
Earlier, Malaysia won the bronze medal, beating Japan 5-3 after leading 4-1 in the first half.