South Korea won their third Sultan Azlan Shah Cup title after a pulsating penalty shootout win over India at the Azlan Shah Stadium.
The Koreans are back to their best as evident in the final display against the world number five India.
The final lived up to all expectations as both teams fought tooth and nail for the honor of winning the 28th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
The game ended 1-1 after regulation time.
Simranjeet Singh scored for India in the 9th minute while Jang Jong-hyun replied for the Koreans via a penalty stroke in the 47th minute.
In the Shootout, only Birendra Lakra and Varun Kumar converted their chances. Sumit and Sumit Kumar missed their attempts.
Korean skipper Lee Nam-yong scored the winner after Lee Jung-jun, Jung Man-jae and Ji Woo-cheon had netted their goals.
South Korean coach Shin Seok-kyu was happy and said that they employed the right tactic in the match.
“This is a huge win for us. I said in the beginning that we want to win the title. To have beaten a top-ranked team in the world is simply great. We knew that the fourth quarter will be crucial for us to take the title.
“Hockey will get its due attention back home now”, he said.
Both teams have now played 82 times, and each has 32 times. The other 18 matches have ended in a draw.
It was India’s eighth final. They had won the title in 1985, 1991, 1995, 2009 and 2010.
In 2010 India was joint champions with the Koreans.
The Koreans outright title win was achieved in 1996.
In the match to determine the third placing, Malaysia defeated Canada 4-2.
Malaysia pulled out all stops to sink Canada for a second time in as many days to clinch the bronze medal.
National coach Roelant Oltmans was happy with the win as he felt that they had the better of the Canadians in both games.
“We won…. again. What more can I say? It was good performance all round and we can be happy that the players getting used to the structure.
“It is always a learning process and we had several young players to reckon with. But like I said there are a lot of positives from this match and we will take that into the next tournament,” he said.
Canada took the lead in the 14th minute courtesy of a field goal through Mark Pearson.
But the second quarter action belonged to the Malaysians who stopped three penalty corner attempts from Canada. And Malaysia went on to score three goals to take a 3-1 lead at half time.
In the 22nd minute, the Malaysians gained their first penalty corner and Nik Aiman Nik Rozemi was on hand to slam home the rebound after the initial flick was saved by the Canada keeper David Carter.
In the 29th minute, Azrai Aizad Abu Kamal who is making his senior team debut scored his first international goal for the team.
Just as the first half was about to end veteran striker Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin scored the third goal to put Malaysia in a commanding position.
In the 45th minute, the Malaysians were down to nine-man earned their sixth penalty corner.
Faizal Saari after misfiring in the last three matches scored his sixth goal on the tournament to put Malaysia 4-1 in the lead.
The fourth quarter saw Malaysia having numerous chances to added to their tally but missed with their attempts.
Canada managed to reduce the deficit in the 59th-minute form a field goal by James Wallace.
In the 5/6th placing match, Japan outclassed Poland 6-1.
Top Scorer: Mandeep Singh (India) and Jang Jong-hyun (S. Kor) both seven goals
Man-of-the-match (final): Jang Jong-hyun (S. Korea)
Goalkeeper of the tournament: Kim Jae-hyeon (S. Korea)
Player-of-tournament: Surender Kumar (India)