Field Hockey Canada > Canada comes up short in classification match against Korea, will face Egypt in final game

Canada comes up short in classification match against Korea, will face Egypt in final game

PHOTO: Floyd Mascarenhas carries the ball in Canada’s match vs Korea at the 2016 Junior World Cup on December 14, 2016 (By Yan Huckendubler)

December 14, 2016 | Shaheed Devji |

Canada’s search for a win at the 2016 Junior World Cup continues after dropping a 2-1 decision to Korea Wednesday in Lucknow, India.

A chance to play for 13th place on Friday in India was on the line in the battle of two winless teams. The winner of Wednesday’s match would go on to face Japan, while the loser would take on Egypt for 15th place.

All the game’s scoring came in the first half, with Korea going up 2-0 and Canada equalizing late. The second half saw more action, but no goals, as Korea held on for victory.

Brandon Pereira scored Canada’s lone goal, which was his and his team’s second of the tournament.

If not for the scoreline, the Canadians would have likely been happy with their performance in the first half and in the game overall. From the opening moments of the match through to the final whistle, Canada put in its most consistent effort of the competition thus far.

Controlling a majority of possession to start the game resulted in the game’s first chance in the 8th minute when Kabir Aujla found some space in the Korean circle and decided to have a go at goal. The attempt was deflected away just as Aujla made contact.

Canada was then awarded the first penalty corner of the match in the 15th minute when Aujla played a free hit quickly outside of the Korean circle, forcing the umpire to call the Korean defender on the five-meter rule.

Brandon Pereira’s drag-flick was turned away by the Korean keeper Youngbin Kang, who left the rebound in prime position for Parmeet Gill to get a stick on. But Kang was able to stop the second attempt as well.

Another corner was given to Canada shortly after, and this time Kang was lucky to make the save as the flick from Ganga Singh was missed by the block and hit the goalkeeper’s stick.

Canada was unlucky not to have the lead by the 20th minute, which is when Korea started to press.

The Korean’s were given their first corner in the 20th minute. Joohan Park stepped up to the plate for the drag-flick and was stopped by Canada’s Iqwinder Gill. But Korea was given another corner and this time Park converted, freezing the Canadian keeper and putting the ball in the net for the game’s first goal in the 21st minute.

Five minutes later, Korea added a second goal in the 26th minute when quick ball movement gave them a 2-on-1 in close quarters to the Canadian goal. The ball made its way to Seyong Oh and he first-timed it past Gill for the 2-0 lead.

Canada immediately began to look for the equalizer.

Rohan Chopra picked up the ball and battled his way to the top of the Korean circle, where he earned a free hit. Chopra was given the ball back quickly, earned a quick corner.

The ball once against went to Pereira, who had his flick blocked, but picked up a second chance and smashed it home from close to give Canada its first goal of the game in the 28th minute.

For the better part of the final 15 minutes of the first half, Canada was on the offensive and looked like it would equalize. The best chance came in the 31st minute when Amrit Sidhu earned yet another corner for Canada.

Pereira again had the honours for the drag-flick, but this time his attempt was stopped and Canada went into the half-time break down by one.

The Koreans made an adjustment at half and came out stronger in the second. Two quick chances were turned away, the first by a good save from Gill, the second by the post on a drag-flick from Park.

By the 50 minute mark, Canada was in full desperation mode, looking for the tying goal, but despite good build-up, was not able to create a good scoring opportunity.

Korea had another chance in the 57th, and Gill made a strong stick save to keep the game in reach for Canada.

Canada’s best chance to tie came in the 67th minute, when the ball popped free to Rowan Childs at the top of the Korean circle. Childs quickly unleashed a hard hit towards the far-post, and as the ball was on its way there, a diving Amrit Sidhu re-directed it past the Korean keeper but just off the post.

It was the chance the Canadians were hoping for, but Canada came up inches short and in the end conceded to a 2-1 defeat.

Canada will now face Egypt – which lost the other 15th/16th classification match by a 1-0 score to Japan – for the 15th place on Friday at 11:15am local time in India (9:45pm Pacific on December 15/12:45am Eastern on December 16 in Canada).