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Harman’s hat-trick sinks Koreans 

Muscat, October 24

India had to fight hard to break down a gritty South Korea before pulling off a 4-1 win over the former Olympics finalists in the Asian Champions Trophy here today. Harmanpreet Singh scored a hat-trick of penalty-corner conversions as India knocked Korea out of semifinal contention.

Harmanpreet opened the Indian scoring in the fifth minute with a firm drag-flick and returned to score two goals in the last quarter with rasping shots in the 47th and 59th minutes to become the tournament’s third player to score a treble.

India’s Dilpreet Singh and Pakistan’s Aleem Bilal are the other players to have registered hat-tricks in the tournament. After Harmanpreet opened the scoring, Gurjant made it 2-0 in the 10th minute when he picked up a through ball on top of the circle, turned around and sent a stinging shot into the net.

Lee Seung-Il brought Korea back into the game with an opportunist strike in the 20th minute. Lee picked a short pass inside the scoring zone and sent a rasping shot into the top left corner of the goal, but Korea could not deliver goal-bearing shots in some openings they created after half-time. Harmanpreet’s return to goal-scoring action sealed the fate of the encounter. “I feel happy the way I am shooting the penalty corners. I just focused on a job and they goals came,” said Harmanpreet.

After Korea’s loss in their last preliminary league outing, they are left on three points. The four semifinalists have been decided, but the league standings will be finalised only after Malaysia, Pakistan and Japan play their last pool matches tomorrow. 

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