Korea and Pakistan will play the final of the Men’s Asia Cup in Kuantan, Malaysia. In the semifinals, Korea defeated China 5-1, while Pakistan was stronger than Malaysia (4-2).
Korea only had difficulties in the first half of the match with China. Like at the Olympic Games in Beijing last year, China started the match well and kept Korea at 1-1 at half time. In the second half, Korea showed that it was by far the better team. Three goals of Hyo Sik You contributed to the 5-1 Korean victory.
In Saturday’s final, Korea will meet Pakistan. The Pakistani team faced major difficulties against Malaysia, the team that was well supported by its home crowd. Malaysia took the lead early in the match, before a goal of Rehan Butt equalized the score after only ten minutes of play.
Pakistan scored its second goal early in the second half. Although Malaysia kept attacking, the home team was never able to close the gap. Pakistan even extended the lead to 4-1 in the last six minutes before the end of the game. A Malaysian goal from a penalty corner in the last seconds brought the final score to 4-2. For Pakistan, Muhammad Saqlain played his 300th international match.
The winner of the final between Korea and Pakistan will be qualified for the FIH World Cup, to be played in New Delhi, India from 7-20 March 2010. The loser of the final, China, Malaysia and Japan will get another change to qualify for the FIH World Cup in one of the three FIH World Cup Qualifiers.
In earlier action on Thursday, India defeated Bangladesh 11-1. With this result, Bangladesh finishes seventh, while India will play Japan on Friday for the fifth position.
Results Men’s Asia Cup:
Korea – China 5-1 (1-1)
Malaysia – Pakistan 2-4 (1-1)
India – Bangladesh 11-1 (4-0)
Please click here for a full overview of the Asia Cup results.