India had a comfortable outing in the group stages of the men's Asian Champions Trophy Hockey 2016 tournament. However, the real work begins now as the knockouts of the competition get under way in Kuantan, Malaysia.
India, South Korea, Malaysia and Pakistan remain the teams in the last four of the tournament this time around and it could very well be a possibility to see arch-rivals India and Pakistan gear up for a mouth-watering encounter in the final of the tournament. But first, getting past in the semi-finals for both India and Pakistan remains the key.
India hockey team, led by goalkeeper PR Sreejesh, take on South Korea in the first semi-finals game of Saturday. This is followed by the game between Maldives and Pakistan. UPDATE: HERE'S HOW INDIA WON AGAINST KOREA.
India have topped the league standings with 13 points from five games, dropping points only to Korea so far. Therefore, this match gives another opportunity to Roelant Oltamans' to avenge their previous result.
"Korea have an extremely well-drilled and organised defensive structure, and they rely on that in their games," mentioned Oltmans before the match. "We already have experience of seeing how suffocating their play can be, and it is a challenge for us. We will have to be more clinical in the final third against them and have shown that we can be so in our games so far. It should be a good encounter," he added.
India's record of conceding just six goals so far and having scored 25 in the tournament, is also praiseworthy. Rupinder Pal Singh has been a star as he has scored ten times over the last five games. A worry remains, however, on the availability of Sreejsh, who has an ankle injury.
Nevertheless, reserve goalkeeper Akash Chikte has not been too bad either. The youngster appeared in the last two matches for India in the tournament and gave a good display in the goal. Meanwhile, defender Surender Kumar is suspended for two matches for India following a dangerous off the ball incident where he lifted his stick against Malaysia.
Asian Champions Trophy Hockey 2016 semi finals: India vs Korea is set to get under way from 3:45 pm IST on October 29.
Where to watch live
India: TV - Star Sports 4/HD 4. Live streaming - Hotstar.
Live scores HERE.