A defensive lapse towards the end cost India dear as they went down 1-2 against South Korea to suffer their second consecutive defeat in the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey tournament, in Ipoh on Sunday.
After their spirited fight in the 3-4 defeat against the Australians, much was expected from the Indians but they disappointed as they were outplayed in the first half by the Koreans who led 1-0 through a goal from Kang Moon Kweon.
The Indians though regrouped in the second session and found the equaliser in the 39th minute with Malak Singh finding the target. The goal spurred the young Indians, mostly the hopefuls of the Junior World Cup later this year, as they kept the Korean defence busy but conceded a goal due to lapse in concentration.
Kweon scored his second goal of the match 10 minutes before the hooter via a deflection off a long hit from outside the 25 yards with at least three Indian defenders caught napping.
After this loss, the Indians will find it difficult to qualify for the final in the six-team tournament. Two top teams from the round-robin league will play in the final.
In the other matches on Sunday, Australia brightened their chances of making the final after crushing Pakistan 6-0. Malaysia pumped in two early goals in the second half to pip defending champions New Zealand 2-1.