India and Korea booked their places in the final of the 28th edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, though in contrasting styles.
This is a repeat of the final in 2010 which was rained off and both teams were declared joint champions.
While India, ranked five in the world outclassed Canada 7-3, the 17th ranked Korea edged the 13th ranked Malaysians 2-1.
India and Korea both now have 10 points and with one match to play on Friday to complete their pool matches.
Malaysia are third with 6 points, the same as Canada with Japan who defeated Poland 3-0 on 3 points
On Friday. India play Poland, Korea lock horns with Japan while Malaysia square off against Canada.
Irrespective of the results on Friday, India and Korea on 10 points have an unassailable lead.
It was yet another superb performance by the world number five India as they easily demolished the ambitions of the North American team.
It was also a classic show of the Asian style of Hockey which uses speed and good counter-attacking skills to take the game.
India and Canada needed to win the match to keep their final berth ambition alive.
India had seven points going into the match while Canada had six.
India with 10 points has sealed their place while South Korea booked the other spot with a 2-1 win over Malaysia.
India’s last match is against Poland on Friday.
Indian team manager Chris Ciriello said that the effort was much improved but felt that they could have done better in the later stages of the match.
“We go into every match wanting to win and against Canada, we had the early advantage with the 4-0 lead. The penalty corner conversion could have been better, but the field attempts make up for it.
“Our focus is on one match at a time,” he added.
The match was evenly contested in the early stages but a goal from the first penalty corner in the 12th minute by Varun Kumar gave the former five-times champions the upper hand.
The second quarter clearly belonged to India, especially the hard-working Mandeep Singh.m
He scored the tournament’s second hattrick in the 20th, 27th and 29th minutes. It was a sublime performance from the 23-year-old from Punjab.
The first hattrick of the tournament was scored by Malaysia’s Faizal Saari in the opening tie against Poland.
Canada earned a penalty corner in the 35th minute and Mark Pearson scored with a deflected drag flick to reduce the deficit.
But their joy was short-lived as the Indians hit back almost immediately.
Amit Rohidas scored a penalty corner goal in the 39th minute and the Indians were easily coasting to a convincing win.
Canadian youngster Fin Boothroyd managed to score the second goal for the team in the 50th minute through a field attempt.
Vivek Prasad got into the scoring act as he scored the sixth goal from a field attempt in the 55th minute.
The gal scoring act in the fourth quarter did not stop there.
James Wallace scored goal number three for Canada in the 57th minute while India reached seven a minute later through Nilakanta Sharma.
Malaysia’s hopes of a final appearance in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2019 went up in smoke as they lost 1-2 to South Korea .
Both teams knew that only a win will do, and they played one of the most exciting games in the tournament which had end=to-end action.
Korea scored early and held the Malaysians at bay to book their final berth.
Malaysian coach Roelant Oltmans was pleased with the fighting spirit of the players and said that it was one of the best showings by the team.
“It was a fantastic performance. You cannot ask for a more committed performance than that. They tried hard and we had a good number of chances to score. Yes, the penalty corners didn’t work as expected but we will work on it before the world series.
“ I am not overly disappointed that we didn’t make the final. It happens,” he said.
In the third quarter the Koreans turned the tables and took a 2-0 lead,
Lee Nam-yong scored a field goal in the 31st minute and this was followed by a penalty corner goal by Jang Jung-hyun.
In the fourth quarter, the Malaysians reduced the deficit and were back in the game.
Malaysians gained their eighth penalty corner and Mohamed Razie Rahim’s drag flick found the mark.
South Korean coach Shin Seok-kyu was extremely pleased with the win as it gave him then chances to regain the title they last won jointly with India in 2010.
In the first match of the day Japan opened their scoring in the 20th minute with Shota Yamada scoring a field goal.
Then 10 minutes later Kentaro Fukuda was on target with another field attempt.
Japan , on attack mode increased their lead in the 40th minute through another field goal by Hirotaka Wakuri.
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