London: India crashed to their fourth successive defeat in the Olympic hockey competition on Sunday as they suffered a humiliating 1-4 reversal against South Korea. India is the only team among 12 competing in these Olympic Games without a single point from five matches.
The eight-time gold medallists are now heading for their lowest-ever finish in the Olympics as they will finish at the bottom of the group and will have to play for the 11th and 12th positions.
India’s defence showed some resolve to hold on grimly against the fast-paced Koreans, but it crumbled thrice on well-directed penalty corner shots.
South Korea’s game plan to exert pressure on India with fast overlapping game produced rewards as the tentative Indian defence again conceded some soft penalty corners.
Indian seemed a more coordinated unit that the previous three matches, but their goal fell two times in the last four minutes.
The sustained pressure built by the Koreans midway through the first session was an indication of things to follow as India seemed desperate and fell back to defend their citadel, but they had no mechanism to stop Nam Hyun Woo from converting two penalty corners in the 59th and 70th minutes to shatter the Indian hopes of salvaging some pride.
South Korea took an early lead Jang Jong Hyun converted a sixth minute penalty corner by placing a rasping drag-flick just under the crossbar.
India got the equaliser in the 10th minute on a breakaway move in which Gurwinder Singh Chandi deflected in Gurbaz Singh’s cross from right into the boards.
Tushar Khandkar had an opening to put India ahead four minutes later, when he picked up a diagonal ball from Dharamvir Singh inside the striking circle, but shot straight into the goalkeeper’s pads.
It began raining heavily midway through the session and during this period the South Koreans pushed the Indian defence against the wall.
The Indian defence seemed shaky when South Korea broke in from the left with short passes and then forced two penalty corners in three minutes, but Jang shot wide on both occasions.
Three Indian strikers were in the circle with the ball in a counter attack in the 27th minute, but the Korean defenders covered them well and did not allow a good crack at the goal.
India earned their first penalty corner in the the 31st minute, but Sandeep Singh could not take a shot as the ball was no stopped, but Sardar Singh innovated to have a shy with a reverse hit that went wide.
Sandeep was not able to make any impression on the Korean defence even as India earned two successive penalty corners just before the breather.
The Koreans came back strongly in the second session, but the Indian defence held on grimly by crowding the circle.
India had a chance to move ahead against the run of play in the 57th minute when S.V. Sunil’s shot from left went across the goalmouth and Dharamvir was unable to trap the ball.
Nam scored twice with his penalty corner drag flicks, giving South a 2-1 lead in the 59th minute by placing a drag flick into the top corner of the goal.
India then came out of their shell seeking an equaliser, but a counter attack saw Captain Lee Seung Il shoot home from the top of the box to put it beyond India.
But the Koreans had not finished their task and Nam came back to rub salt into India’s wounds with a low minute penalty corner flick in the last minute that sounded the boards.
London: India crashed to their fourth successive defeat in the Olympic hockey competition on Sunday as they suffered a humiliating 1-4 reversal against South Korea.
India is the only team among 12 competing in these Olympic Games without a single point from five matches.