South Korea wins men’s hockey gold, India fifth

Doha — South Korea successfully defended the men’s hockey gold medal, while India finished fifth and Pakistan clinched a consolation bronze at the 15th Asian Games here Thursday.

South Korea defeated China 3-1 in the final at Al-Rayyan Sports Club to defend the gold they won at the 2002 Busan Games by remaining the only undefeated team in the tournament. Yeo Woon Kon scored two goals after Na Yubo had put China 1-0 ahead and South Korea equalised through Yoon Sung Hoon.

South Korea’s Jang Jong Hyun finished as the top scorer with 15 goals.

India crushed Malaysia 4-0 in a classification match and Pakistan piped Japan 4-2. Bangladesh thrashed Chinese Taipei 5-1 to finish seventh.

For India, Raghunath Vokaligga scored a brace from penalty corners while Rajpal Singh and Gurbaj Singh scored one goal apiece.

India took the lead in the 13th minute after drag-flicker Raghunath converted a penalty corner. The lead was doubled in the 41st minute when Rajpal struck.

Nine minutes from time Raghunath again converted a penalty corner and three minutes later Gurbaj scored to make it 4-0 in India’s favour.

In a tense final, Yeo was the hero with two goals as South Korea came from behind to win the gold. Na put China in front after nine minutes from a penalty corner. South Korea equalised three minutes later through Yoon and went ahead soon after when Yeo scored his first goal.

The Chinese defended well to prevent the prolific Jang from scoring penalty corner goals – stopping him on six occasions. But their defence faltered four minutes from full time when they conceded a penalty, and Yeo stepped up to confidently convert past Ko Dong Sik in China’s goal.

South Korea’s Seo Jong Ho was delighted and looked ahead with confidence to Beijing 2008.

“I’m very happy to win the final and to get an opportunity to participate in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. I’m pleased to confirm that we are the best team in Asia,” he said.

“In the circle there were many Chinese defenders so we couldn’t shoot easily. We tried to score a goal by penalty corners, but China defended all our penalty corners. I think they have improved their defence by their Korean coach Kim Sangryul.”

“We did better and better in every game and we showed our hockey style in this game. It was a pity there was some key chances that we missed,” said China captain Song Yi said after the match.

“I’m very satisfied with our performance. At the beginning our target was to beat India and get into the semi-final, but the coach told us to walk further. He thought that we could do better and he told us to finish one impossible mission after another.”

Earlier in the day, Pakistan were convincing victors in the bronze medal match, defeating Japan 4-2 with two goals for Muhammad Waqas, while Takahiko Yamabori scored both of Japan’s goals to take his tournament tally to 12.

India found some form against Malaysia, winning 4-0, but it was too little too late as they bowed out fifth. Ragunath Vokkaliga scored two goals from penalty corners while Rajpal Singh and debutant Gurbaj Singh scored a goal each

In the bronze medal match, it was not a cakewalk for Pakistan as rallied strongly to clinch the third place.

Takahiko Yamabori drew the first blood for Japan in the ninth minute scoring a field goal. After that Pakistan dominated much of the game and slammed in all the four goals.

Maqsood Adnan scored the equaliser for Pakistan in the 11th minute off a penalty corner and his colleague Shakeel Abassi gave the lead two minutes from the breather.

Muhammed Waqas struck six minutes into the second half to give Pakistan a 3-1 lead. Waqas completed the brace in the 53rd minute.

Yamabor pulled back one in the 57th minute.

In the match for the sixth place, Jimmy Rasel Mahmud and Mamunur Rahman scored a brace each and Zahidul Islam struck once for Bangladesh while Heng Ming Tsai scored the consolation goal for Chinese Taipei.