18 July:India staged a dramatic fightback to retain the Asia Cup hockey title with a pulsating 3-2 victory over South Korea, relying on ace drag flicker Diwakar Ram’s brilliance to score the match-winner early in the extra time.
The Indians were trailing 0-2 till the 52nd minute of the fast-paced contest before clawing back in a sensational manner with three quick goals to leave the Koreans in a daze.
After being locked 2-2 at the end of regulation time, the in-form Diwakar Ram converted a penalty corner to tilt the balance in India’s favour in the summit showdown which saw fortune fluctuating from one team to the other till the very end.
Scenes of wild celebrations broke out in the galleries as soon as Diwakar Ram netted the ‘golden goal’ while the Indian players hugged each other to celebrate their second successive Asia Cup triumph.
It was again Diwakar who came to the rescue of the team by scoring two goals in the crucial game which at one time seemed to be running away from the Indians with their nippy rivals scoring the first two goals and exerting tremendous pressure with a flurry of attacks from both the flanks.
Apart from Diwakar’s brace, the hard-working Sunil S P scored a goal for the Indians who managed to maintain their unbeaten streak right through the event.
Nam Hyan Woo scored both the goals for the Koreans who began with a flourish but lost the tempo in the dying stages when it mattered the most.Courtsey DD NEWS