India frittered away a two-goal advantage to lose their opening game in the Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament 2-3 against South Korea in Ipoh on Thursday.
In the opening match of the day, Asian Games champions Pakistan defeated New Zealand 4-2 to end a string of five consecutive defeats at the hand of the Black Sticks.
India, who shared the Cup with Korea last year, were comfortably placed scoring two goals in the second quarter of the game. First Diwakar Ram converted a penalty corner in the 20th minute and seven minutes later Danish Mujtaba was on target.
South Korea, who lost to India in the bronze medal play-off at the Guangzhou Asian Games last November, fought their way back to score twice. Cho Suk Hoon sneaked in the first Korean goal from the goalmouth in the 31st minute and Yoon Sung Hoon found the equaliser, pouncing on a rebound from their fifth penalty corner six minutes into the second half.
Korea's winner came in the 56th minute from a penalty converted by Jang Jong Hyun and India could not force the equaliser as they themselves were under pressure defending their goal.
After Korea failed to find the mark from a penalty corner, India put together some good moves only to lose their way in the approach to the goal. When they forced a penalty corner, Dhananjay Mahadik pushed it for Diwakar to score with a scorcher.
Soon, the Koreans had an opportunity to neutralise the lead, but to their disappointment their penalty-corner conversion was disallowed by British umpire Martin Madden.
Lee Seung II and Jang Jong Hyun were shown the green card for protesting and the team even walked off the pitch. They had to return as the umpire stood his ground.
India scored again when Mujtaba trapped Shivender Singh's pass on the run and sped past the Korean defence to slam home with a reverse shot.
The Koreans were not to be denied as Cho scored from an acute angle, his flick finding the roof of the net, giving Adrian D'Souza no chance.
India went into the breather leading 2-1.
Korea stepped up the attack and got two back-to-back penalty corners, but Adrian, who made some good saves, kept them at bay. He, however, could not hold on for long as Yoon seized the opportunity with the rebound after the penalty-corner attempt by Nam Hyun Woo was saved.
An ungainly challenge by Vikram Pillay to on Yoon prompted umpire David Tomlinson to point to the spot and Jang Jong Hyun converted it (3-2).
India will play Britain on Friday.
In the first match, Pakistan were quick to take a 2-0 lead with goals from Muhammad Rizwan (3rd minute) and Khan Abdul Haseem (24th min). Syed Shah Kashif (51st min) made it 3-0 after the breather.
New Zealand pulled one back through Andrew Hayward (59th min) before Pakistan made it 4-1 through Umar Bhutta Muhammad (61st). New Zealand got a consolation game through Inglis Hugo (63rd).