Indian eves slipped to their first defeat of the South Korea tour as the hosts registered a 2-1 victory over the visitors in the third match of the five-match series at the Jinchun National Athletic Centre on Thursday. Two goals in the first quarter from South Korea’s Seul Ki Cheon (12th minute) and Yurim Lee (14th) were enough for the hosts as India’s fightback, led by Lalremsiami’s goal in the 16th minute, was not enough on the day. The win for South Korea means that India still maintain a 2-1 lead in the five-match hockey series with two matches to play.
Earlier in the day, India looked to continue their winning momentum from the first two matches. The eves were quick off the block to put some pressure on the hosts in the midfield as they played with high intensity. However, South Korea were equally commanding in their play as they also found space regularly in India’s striking circle.
The opening 10 minutes of the first quarter saw both teams play with exuberance but it was South Korea who went ahead in the match when Seul Ki Cheon converted a penalty corner in the 12th minute to give her team the lead.
Two minutes later, India’s defence was beaten again through a penalty corner as Yurim Lee continued her goal-scoring form to make it 2-0 in the 14th minute.
Even with the game being balanced in the opening quarter, it was South Korea who ended the first quarter with a two-goal advantage.
India took the field in the second quarter with the intent of making a comeback and were instantly rewarded as forward Lalremsiami found the back of the net in the 16th minute to pull one goal back for the visitors.
The Indian team were threatening to find the equaliser but the hosts’ defence also stuck to their task as chances went in vain with South Korean goalkeeper Heabin Jung making a couple of saves to deny the visitors a second goal before the half-time whistle.
The third quarter of the match saw jitters in both the teams as neither wanted to give the opposing team a firm grip on the game.
It was South Korea who had the better chances of scoring in the penultimate quarter as they were awarded three penalty corners but failed to convert any of them into a goal with goalkeeper Rajani Etimarpu making the saves.
In the final quarter, India kept piling on the pressure on the hosts and earned two penalty corners in the last four minutes of the match, but South Korea goalkeeper Heabin Jung made two fantastic saves to deny India a way back as the hosts ran away with a 2-1 victory.
India will play their fourth match on Friday.