Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Korea registered a fighting 2-1 victory against Japan in a Pool B encounter of the FIH Odisha Men's Hockey World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday.

Japan opened their account as early as in the first minute of the match as Nagayoshi Ken converted team's first penalty corner chance into a goal. However, Korea retaliated strongly to have the equaliser in the eighth minute through Lee Jungjun who scored through a tricky field goal. Korea pressed their momentum further to get three back to back penalty corners in the 14th minute, but they could not capitalise on them. There was not much to differentiate between both the teams in the first quarter which ended 1-1.

Korea upped the ante in the second quarter. Lee Jungjun struck a fierce hit from the right flank to take lead once more in the 23rd minute. Both the teams got couple of more scoring opportunities, but failed to grab those. At the end of the first half, the match ended 2-1 in Korea's favour.

Japan earned their second penalty corner in the 32nd minute, but wasted the opportunity. Korea made amends and got a penalty corner opportunity in the 43rd minute, but could not keep control on the flick.

Korea started the fourth and the final quarter from where they had left in the third quarter and got three back-to back penalty corner opportunities in the 47th minute. However, Japan's defence was rock solid to thwart the relentless attack of the opposition.

Japan managed to get their third penalty corner in the 50th minute, but Korea's goal keeper Kim Jehyeonhad had a wonderful save behind the bar. Japan was desperate in search of the equaliser which led them to find another penalty corner in the 53rd minute which was again wasted thanks to some brilliant save by Jehyeonhad. Korea defenders saved couple of more penalty corners and survived some scary moments during the end part of the match to seal it 2-1 in their favour.