30 Mar Korea champs
South Korea won their third Sultan Azlan Shah Cup title after a pulsating penalty shootout win over India at the Azlan Shah Stadium.
The Koreans are back to their best as evident in the final display against the world number five India who had taken the early lead.
The final lived up to all expectations as both teams fought tooth and nail for the honor of winning the 28th Sultan Azlan Shah title.
The game ended 1-1 after regulation time.
Simranjeet Singh scored for India while Jang Jong-hyun replied for the Koreans.
In the Shootout, only Birendra Lakra and Varun Kumar converted their chances. Sumit and Sumit Kumar missed their attempts.
Korean skipper Lee Nam-yong scored the winner after Lee Jung-jun, Jung Man-jae and Ji Woo-cheon had netted their goals.
South Korean coach Shin Seok-kyu was happy and said that they employed the right tactic in the match.
“This is a huge win for us. I said in the beginning that we want to win the title. To have beaten a top-ranked team in the world is simply great. We knew that the fourth quarter will be crucial for us to take the title.
“Hockey will get its due attention back home now”, he said.
Both teams have now played 82 times, and each has 32 times. The other 18 matches have ended in a draw.
It was India’s eighth final. They had won the title in 1985, 1991, 1995, 2009 and 2010.
In 2010 India was joint champions with the Koreans.
The Koreans outright title win was achieved in 1996.
This is the 82nd meeting of the two teams
It was a fast start by both teams with little separating them in terms of experience. But in a quick counter-attack, it was India that drew first blood.
Simranjeet Singh found ample space in the D to slot home from close range with only goalkeeper Kim Jaen-yeon to beat.
The second quarter was a no holds barred display with both sides going all out for a goal. Both teams had good chances but the goalkeepers at either end were in no mood to allow the goal in.
Korea had a penalty corner, but poor execution saw them miss their chance. They have two of the most experienced flickers in Lee Nam-yong and Jang Jong-hyun.
In the 47th minute, the Koreans drew level when they gained a penalty stroke and Jong-hyun scored to take the game to a shootout.