Korea vs. Canada: 7-4 (half-time: 4-1)
Korea and Canada opened the 2013 Hero Hockey Junior World Cup and it only took a couple of minutes for the Koreans to make the first dent on the score-sheet when Seo Inwoo deflected in goal a free hit driven in the circle by Hwang Weonki. They maintained their pressure on the nervous Canadian defense and doubled their tally in the 7th minute when You Seungju powered a penalty-corner out of reach of Tristan Burgoyne in the Canadian goal.
The Canadians settled their nerve and soon had their first incursion in Korean territory by Gabriel Ho-Garcia, cutting decisively through the Korean defense. He was tackled before managing a shot and the subsequent penalty-corner was deflected by the fast Korean runners. Korea did not waste any time and the counter-attack found Seo Inwoo alone in the circle for an easy deflection and his second goal of the match in the 16th minute.
Canada reacted well, forcing two penalty-corners and opening their tally by Vikramjeet Sandhu on hand to deflect in goal a bouncing ball that had eluded a couple of defenders. Momentum of play switched for a while and it was the turn of the Korean defense to be under pressure. The Canadians displayed some good skills, creating some swift collective counter-attacks, but Lee Seyoung stood tall in the Korean goal.
Korea added a fourth goal before half-time with an unstoppable penalty-corner by You Seungju perfectly slotted in the top corner of Burgoyne’s goal, and the Canadians were facing a steep deficit on the scoreboard going into the break.
Once again, Korea started at full speed and a high ball found two high forwards behind the Canadian defense for a quick exchange of passes ending with an easy tap in the empty goal for Seo Inwoo, completing his hat-trick in the 37th minute. You Seungju was not far behind, completing his own hat-trick on yet another penalty-corner, this time with a low shot that shaved the right post.
The offensive festival continued with a quick exchange of goals, You Minyoung and Gordon Johnston scoring within a few minutes of each other. Then Canada pushed up their pace, and Jannu Mahal and Oliver Scholfield scored in the same minute, bringing back Canada within 3 goals on the scoreboard with still ten minutes to go on the clock. The final minutes were hotly contested, but the final Canadian surge was too late to change the result and Korea earned the three points of a high-scoring win (7-3).
For more information and pictures of KOR vs. CAN, click here.
Netherlands vs. India: 3-2 (half-time: 3-1)
After a minute of silence observed by the two teams and the crowd to honor Nelson Mandela, action started quickly with every move of the Indian players cheered loudly by the local crowd. It was however the Dutch who took an early lead by Milan Van Baal in the 3rd minute. India had a chance soon after on penalty-corner but the low flick was expertly countered by the Dutch runners.
India were more successful a few minutes later, tying the game with a powerful flick by Gurjinder Singh that sent the crowd into raptures. They kept dominating the proceeding, besieging the Dutch circle, but the Oranges weathered the storm calmly, then progressively pushed up the pace to threaten Harjot Singh in the Indian goal.
The Netherlands were rewarded in the 25th minute when Mark Rijkers pounced on a loose ball in front of the goal for a swift push over the line. They scored again a couple of minutes later by Milan Van Baal, his second of the match, to build a comfortable cushion going into the break.
The crowd tried to boost the local team but the Indian players could not penetrate deep enough into the compact Dutch defense to threaten Piet Noordam in goal. The fans had to wait the 42nd minute to see a good chance, and Akashdeep Singh did not waste it, entering the circle at speed, running around the charging goal-keeper and managing to find the far post from an impossible angle.
Play was intense, but balanced. India, encouraged furiously by the local fans, pushed desperately for the equalizer but became more nervous as the clock was ticking down. Play was rough at times and two Indian players collected yellow cards. The last few minutes were torrid for the Dutch defence, but they held tight and earned an important win to share the top of Pool C with Korea.
For more information and pictures of NED vs. IND, click here.
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