By Anne Das
It was a fast, furious and exciting game, but Korea prevailed the challenges to narrowly defeat Japan and stay unbeaten after two matches in 29th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup 2022 International Men’s hockey tournament at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium, Ipoh, this evening.
It was a traditional rivalry match between the two and there were no quarters given as the two battled end to end.
In the end it was Korea’s penalty goal in the 45th minute by Jeon Byungjin which won the match.
Korea indeed has lived up to their pre-tournament bold prediction to defend the title they won in 2019.
Korea is competing for the 21st time, having won thrice (1996,2010, 2019), runners up four times (1999,2000,2001,2005) and third four times (1998,2004,2013 and 2014).
Korea Coach, Shin Seok Kyo, said this tournament also serves as a preparation for their World Cup campaign in India in January.
“I have a few young players in the team too and thus it is a blend of experience and youth. I had three senior players who are injured but will be available for the Nations Cup.”
“We are also competing in the Nations Cup in South Africa later this month and I may introduce another two young players as I will bring a squad of 20 players.
“Our ultimate goal is to qualify for the Paris Olympics and the Hangzhou Asian Games. It is of utmost importance, whereby we have to win or win a place through the qualifiers for the Olympics in January 2024.”
JAPAN (0) – KOREA (1)