Diwakar’s golden touch helps India retain junior Asia Cup

July 18th, 2008 - 10:44 pm ICT by IANS  

By Avishek Roy
Hyderabad, July 18 (IANS) India made a spectacular recovery as Diwakar Ram struck twice in a match yet again to beat South Korea 3-2 via golden goal to retain the junior Asia Cup trophy at the Gachibowli Stadium here Friday. India trailed 0-2 and Diwakar turned out to be the saviour once again and his two penalty-corner conversions, in the first half and in extra time, saved the day for the hosts.

Diwakar, with 11 goals, emerged the top scorer in the tournament. Nam Hyun Woo, who also scored two goals for he Koreans, was the second with 10.

India scored through S.V. Sunil and Diwakar to make it 2-2 with just 13 minutes left for the match. Diwakar then scored the golden goal in the extra time, sparking huge celebration in the packed flood-lit stadium.

It was a lacklustre performance from India in the first half but they came back strongly in the second.

South Korea were better organised in their attacks and played to a gameplan. They scored their first goal in the seventh minute as Woo was on target, deflecting a long cross from Lee Dong Hyun in.

India got two easy chances in the first half and Gurwinder Singh Chandi failed to convert both. The first one was an easy take as he had only the goalkeeper to beat, but Chandi failed to connect a through ball.

The second one was from a penalty corner in the 18th minute where India thrice had the opportunity to score but brilliant goalkeeping from Kim Jae Hyeon dashed their hopes. Diwakar shot was stopped by Hyeon and then Chandi and Roshan Minz failed to deflect the ball in.

India got another penalty corner in the 24th minute but Diwakar, who has been accurate throughout the tournament, once again failed as his scoop was blocked.

The hosts lacked the firepower even in the second session and their goalkeeper P.R Sreejesh saved a couple of good chances before he suffered cramps and had to leave the field. Mrinal Choubey who came in his place was equal to the task.

It was not until that Korean Jeon Byun Jin was sent off for a dangerous tackle with 13 minutes left for the final whistle that India could score. The Indians scored two goals within a space of three minutes to rattle the 10-man Korean team.

Sunil tapped the ball home in from a goalmouth melee. India then went into an all-out attack and Diwakar struck three minutes later, converting a penalty corner, but the Koreans were unhappy with the umpire’s decision.

Indian fowards then played fast, tried to crack open the rival defence, but a resolute Koreans stretched the match to the extra time.

India got a penalty corner in the fourth minute of the extra time and everyone looked up to Diwakar for one final shot. He did not disappoint.

In another match, Pakistan beat Japan 7-2 to finish third.

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