South Korea stunned favourites India 4-2 in the shoot-out to lift the Azlan Shah Cup hockey title after the five-time champions conceded an equaliser in the final quarter of the summit clash on Saturday. Going into the title clash, world no. 5 India were clear favourites to lift their sixth Azlan Shah title against the 17th ranked Koreans. Also Read - Hockey | COVID-19 Experience Made me Mentally Stronger, Says India Men's Captain Manpreet Singh
And the Indians started in the right earnest, taking the lead early through Simranjeet Singh’s field strike in the ninth minute. The Koreans, thereafter, kept the Indian forward line under tight vigil, while also pressing hard in search of the equaliser. Also Read - Hockey | Systematic Approach And Two-way Communication Key to Rise in World Rankings: SV Sunil
Korea’s efforts finally paid dividend in the 47th minute when they were awarded a penalty stroke. The Indians went for the video referral but the penalty decision stayed and Jang Jong Hyun made no mistake in drawing parity for his side.
Two minutes from the hooter, India earned a penalty corner but to no avail as the match went into shoot-out.
In the shoot-out, the Indians missed their first, fourth and fifth attempts and converted just two, while the Koreans just missed their third strike to win the thrilling contest 4-2 and lift the crown for the third time in the history of the invitational tournament.
For India, Mandeep Singh, Sumit Kumar Junior and Sumit missed from the one-on-one penalty shoot-out situation, while experienced Birendra Lakra and Varun Kumar, converted their chances.
Defending the goal in the shoot-out for India was young Kishan B Pathak in place of experienced P R Sreejesh.
Hosts Malaysia finished third after beating Canada 4-2 in the third-fourth place classification match.