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Korea have qualified for the 2016 Champions Trophy after taking a solid 4-0 victory in the final of the Pahang Hockey Champions Challenge 1 in Kuantan. Korea have participated in three previous editions of the tournament but they have never won it before.
With Korea grabbing their first Champions Challenge 1 title and Canada finishing second, their best result was a 6th place finish in Quilmes, Argentina, in 2012, this tournament was a huge success for both teams.
"We are very happy with this win because it's a long time ago that Korea played off in a Champions Trophy", says Korea coach Shin Seok Kyo. "Qualifying for the Champions Trophy means a lot to us because we know, that we can only improve if we play against the best teams in the world."
Tonight’s final was a special game for Ben Martin who played his 50th cap for Canada and also for Mark Pearson making his 150th appearance in the national kit.
Korea demonstrated from the first whistle that they wanted to win this final. The Asian champions created their first promising opportunity when Kang Moon Kweon (8’) shot from close range but the Canadian 'keeper David Carter was able to save.
However, Carter was beaten two minutes later when Jang Jong Hyun (10’) scored from a penalty corner. This was his seventh goal in this competition making him joint top scorer with New Zealand’s Simon Child. World-ranked 7th Korea doubled their lead just three minutes later through Kim Young Jin (13’).
Canada struggled to cross the 23m line as Korea took full control of the match throughout the entire first half. Canada’s first chance arrived in the 42nd minute when Scott Tupper’s penalty corner shot was blocked by the defence.
The Canadians tried to score at least a consolation goal but Korea proved just too strong. The Asian champions scored again to make it 3-0 through a penalty stroke goal from Jang Jong Hyun (56’). This was his second goal of the day and his eighth in the tournament making him the top scorer. The stroke was awarded after goalie Carter had tackled Korea captain Lee Seung Il in the circle. Korea added another goal on 69 minutes when Kim Seong Kyu (69’) put his name on the scoresheet to seal the deserved win.