Former champions South Korea returned to the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup fold with a vengeance as they defeated world number 10 Canada 6-3 in an exciting game at the Azlan Shah Stadium.
The Koreans ranked 17th in the world took a six-goal lead before the Canadians found their scoring touch.
Korean coach Shin Seok-kyo was pleased with the game but felt that they should have kept up the momentum in the last quarter.
“It is good to get off with a start especially against a top team. We want the players to keep up the winning momentum as it will give them confidence for the coming matches.
“We are here to win the title as it has been too long since we made the final in 2010,” he added.
The Koreans won the title first in 1996 and were joint champions with India in 2010. The Canadians best showing was in 1995 and 199 when they finished in fourth place.
The Koreans are making a comeback to the tournament after a three-year lapse.
Their performance showed that they have enough firepower to push for a final berth.
The Koreans took a 3-0 lead over Canada by the end of the first half. Goals scored by Kim Jung-hoo ( 14), Lee Nam-yong (19 ), Jang Jong-hyun in the 20th minutes allowed the former champions to take a comfortable lead and stay in front.
Lee Nam-yong added the fourth goal in the 31st minute with another field attempt.
The Canadians were hardly in the game as they had to backpedal numerous times to stop the speedy Koreans.
Nam-yong was again on target in the 43rd minute with a penalty corner goal while NJong-hyun scored his second in the 44th for a 6-0 lead.
Canada scored their first goal in the 45th minute off a field attempt by Mathew Sarmento while Adam Froese converted a penalty stroke a minute later to reduce the deficit.
The Canadians then tried to stage a fight back and in the 50th minute scored goal number three. Fin Boothroyd scored from close range after a Korean defensive error.a
Canada coach Paul Bundy was satisfied with the performance and felt that the players did well to stage a late fightback.
“This a good tournament to play in and we are pleased to be here. We have five changes form the team that played in the world cup and this is an opportunity for the young players to stake a place in the team for the world series in April,” he said.