Korea walked away with a narrow 3-2 win over France in today’s first match of the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan. Korea are on seven points now but their final pool placing will depend on the result of Canada’s match against Malaysia later tonight.
The match started with a slow first quarter as the hot weather conditions in Kuantan obviously challenged both teams. Until today, neither team had experienced playing in the 15:00 match. France created two promising scoring opportunities within the first 17.5 minutes but Lucas Sevestre’s penalty corner flick went wide and Jean-Laurent Kieffer missed from a close range.
The second quarter burst into life with the umpires awarding an early penalty stroke to France. However, the stroke was poorly taken by Valentin Migneau (22’) making it easy for the Korean goalie Lee Myung Ho to save the ball. Just a couple of minutes later Korea’s You Hyo Sik was tackled in the French circle which resulted in a penalty stroke for Korea. Nam Hyun took responsibility and converted without problems to give Korea the lead.
France failed to strike back after four Koreans, including goalkeeper Lee (green), had been sent off with penalty cards for various reasons within two minutes. Despite having more men on the pitch, the Tricolores were unable to score. However, it was Korea who doubled their lead against the run of play when Jang Jong Hyun (35’) converted his team’s second penalty corner.
The Tricolores eventually struck back in the third quarter thanks to a field goal from Tom Genestet (43’). However, Korea extended their lead to 3-1 when Kim Seong Kyu (56’) scored from open play. Then Kieffer (63’) managed to deflect the ball into the net to get France on the scoreboard again. France worked hard to get back into the match but the equalizer did not come.