Korea through to London Cup Final

Korea have joined New Zealand in Saturday's London Cup Final after beating Belgium 3-1 on Friday night.

Belgium 1 (0) - 3 (1) Korea
Cedric Charlier 59 (F)           Kyu Yeob Jang 23 (PC)
            Hyo Sik You 52 (F)
            Nam Yong Lee 64 (F)

Nam Yong Lee is challenged by Loick Luypaert during Korea's match with Belgium at The London Cup, Chiswick

The first match of Friday evening's London Cup  saw Korea take on Belgium in a frenetic game that ended with the Asian side finishing 3-1 winners and booking their place in Saturday’s showpiece final.  The result was all the sweeter with the Korean ambassador in the crowd (below right).

The Koreans went into the break 1-0 up courtesy of Kyu Yeob Jang and two second half goals from Hyo Sik You and tournament leading scorer Nam Yong Lee secured the points.  Belgium’s only goal came from Cedric Charlier as they were unable to overcome a strong Korean side, who fielded a kicking back for much of the second half having lost goalkpeer Myung Ho Lee to injury.

Belgium started with a good spell of possession, but a lively Korean press saw them playing largely in their own half.

The Korean Ambassador talks to England Hockey Chief Executive Sally Munday and England Hockey's Anne Panter at The London Cup, ChiswickKorea were enjoying continued success down their left hand flank and Byung Jin Jeon found himself unmarked twice on the baseline. He found himself unable to make anything of the chances but the Korean attacks were gathering confidence and playing some excellent hockey.

Belgium’s Alexander De Saedeleer was then penalised for a push and Korea were awarded the first penalty corner of the game.  John-John Dohmen was sent from the defensive line by the umpire for repeatedly breaking early. When the corner was eventually taken the ball was slipped left, following a dummy drag flick. The resulting shot was well saved but Korea’s Kyu Yeob Jang pounced on the rebound, reacting quickly to volley home and give Korea the lead their pressure deserved.

The Belgian team then came to life and a series of attacks saw them earn their own penalty corner.  Tom Boon flicked powerfully towards the top right corner but the Korean goalkeeper Myung Ho Lee reacted well to palm the ball onto the crossbar and the ball bounced away to safety, leaving Belgium trailing at the break.

Belgium came out after the interval with renewed impetus and impressive stick skills from Thomas Briels on the baseline saw him turn his marker and juggle the ball down the baseline.  But he was unable to find anyone with the subsequent pull back and Korea broke at pace with Jong Hyun Jang forcing his way into the circle before flicking the ball on his reverse past the advancing keeper, only to see it cleared away at the last moment.

Shortly after play was brought to a halt when the Korean goalkeeper had to receive treatment for a hip injury; something he had been having trouble with in recent weeks. He eventually returned to the field and Korea continued to look the more dangerous of the two sides.

Korea then received two green cards in quick succession for breaking down play with overzealous challenges as Belgium pressed hard, seeking a route back into the game. Kyu Yeob Jang and Jong Hyun Jang were the offenders.

The Belgium pressure began to tell and determined work from John-John Dohmen saw the ball played to the backline for a quick strike at goal. Myung Ho Lee saved well with his pads but was left prostrate by the effort and again the Korean physio was called into play.  The Korean guardian was unable to return to the field and Korea employed a kicking back.  The lack of goalkeeper did not prove an issue to the Korean attack who went on to score their second of the game through Hyo Sik You who converted a reverse stick cross with a fine diving tip in to make the score 2-1.

Both sides had goals disallowed in the second stanza but tournament leading scorer Nam Yong Lee sealed the victory with a venomous reverse strike that cannoned back off the Belgian goalkeeper, only for the ball to strike a defender and bounce back into the goal to ensure that Korea will play in Saturday’s final.

Korean coach Moon Ki Yoo was delighted with his team’s performance, despite losing his goalkeeper to injury: “ Prior to this tournament our goalkeeper had a lot of problems with his hip and missed a lot of training. As a result I was wary what his performance would be like but the team worked hard to make up for it and we are delighted to progress to the final on Saturday”.

Stay in touch with the rest of the tournament on the official tournament results page here.  See results, match report, standings and the top scorers list.

Follow The London Cup on Twitter using the hashtag #londoncup. And follow us via @EnglandHockey. Or, on Facebook, 'like' us at 'Official England Hockey'.