Draw: India Lose, Korea win
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During a passage of play in the second half, the Indian Under-21 team looked every bit the Junior World Cup favorites that hockey fans had been led into believing they were. Roughly between the 43rd and 53rd minute, the home team, leading 2-1 in a must-win final Pool C game, virtually besieged the Korean circle.
Egged on by the vociferous 5000-strong crowd, India threatened to score every time they made an attempt, and they seemed to be just a stroke away from goal almost every single minute in the said duration. They did manage to find the net twice in 10 minutes. Only one, however, was deemed legitimate.
The goal that wasn't and the chances that were missed came back to haunt India as they drew the match 3-3 and crashed out of the quarterfinal race on goal difference. But at the end of the 45th minute, as India scored their third goal, this eventuality looked remote. It was a supreme exhibition of everything that is good about Indian hockey. A product of sublime skill, searing pace and remarkable positional awareness. For an India fan, a rare moment of bliss.
Ramandeep Singh, who had largely been anonymous in the game (make that in the entire tournament), gave a glimpse of his genius. With his back to the Korean goal, he collected a long ball from captain Manpreet Singh, dodged a defender with a 180-degree swivel in the blink of an eye and released Satbir Singh with a perfect through-ball on top of the D.
Satbir's only touch saw the ball flying to Mandeep Singh stationed to left of the goalkeeper. The athletic Mandeep deflected it on the dive into the goal. Three touches. Three-one.
Two minutes later, India thought it was 4-1 when Mandeep's strike from the right, deflected off Malak Singh's stick, bulged the net. However, the umpire concluded the initial hit was above knee height and therefore dangerous. India reviewed. The TV umpire upheld the decision.