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Asia Cup: India miss out on final after 4-4 draw against South Korea

India's Birendra Lakra in action against South Korea. Hockey India

The Indian men's hockey team missed out on a chance to reach the Asia Cup 2022 final after playing out a thrilling 4-4 draw against South Korea at the GBK Sports Complex Hockey Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia on Tuesday.

With South Korea and Malaysia leading on goal difference in the Super 4s Pool Table, India needed to win the match to reach the final. They conceded goals after going down to 10-men twice when they were leading 3-2 and 4-3.

Nilam Sanjeep Xess (9'), Maninder Singh (21'), Sheshe Gowda BM (22'), and Mareeswaran Shakthivel (37') scored the goals for India, while Jang Jonghyun (13'), Ji Woo Cheon (18'), Kim Jung Hoo (28'), and Jung Manjae (44') converted the chances for South Korea.

India will now challenge Japan in the bronze-medal match on Wednesday.

The match started with an attacking move from India as Dipsan Tirkey came from the left flanks to pass the ball to Pawan Rajbhar inside the circle. But South Korea's defence was quick to avert the danger.

A penalty corner (PC) opportunity minutes later taken by Xess was again defended well by South Korea, but India continued to threaten from the right channel. Xess received another chance to score from a PC a couple of minutes later, and this time, he converted to give India a 1-0 lead. But South Korea drew level immediately with Jang Jonghyun scoring from a PC before the close of the first quarter.

India launched an attacking move straight away in the second quarter with Dipsan hitting a shot on target, only to be saved by goalkeeper Kim Jaehyeon. Ji Woo Cheon doubled South Korea's lead, hitting the ball past Indian goalkeeper Suraj Karkera from close quarters. Maninder Singh drew level minutes later, scoring a goal off a rebound from a penalty corner.

A counter-attacking move from India stunned the Korean defence as Gowda put the ball into the nets to put India back in the lead. But South Korea took advantage after India were down to 10-men following a green card to Uttam Singh. Kim Jung Hoo scored from a difficult angle as match went to halftime with the scoreline reading 3-3.

India began cautiously in the second half, holding on to ball possession. South Korea's defence was caught off guard again in the 37th minute as Gowda made an excellent cross inside the circle for Shakthivel, who tapped the ball into the back of the nets to give India a 4-3 lead.

India were down to 10-men again after a yellow card to Yashdeep Siwach and once again South Korea took advantage as Jung Manjae equalised to make it 4-4.

India stitched an attacking move straight away in the final quarter with Vishnukant Singh passing the ball to Karthi Selvam inside the circle. But Karthi's cross towards SV Sunil in front of the goal, just went past the Indian veteran.

As the clock started winding down, India started showing an urgency in attack, while South Korea sat down deep in their half. India received a chance to score a late goal in the last minute as Pawan Rajbhar sent a long pass inside the circle towards Uttam Singh. But the forward was unable to get his stick on to the ball.

India will take on Japan in the bronze-medal match on June 1 at the GBK Sports Complex Hockey Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia at 2.30 pm IST. The match will be telecast live on Star Sports Select 2 SD + HD and Disney + Hotstar.