Outclassed but not thrashed...
Team India were totally outclassed by the Koreans but they still kept fighting till the end and thanks to a combination of some brave defending and luck, Bob Houghton's side only conceded once in the second period.
Goals from Ji Dong Won and Koo Ka Cheol gave Korea a two goal lead inside the first nine minutes but Sunil Chhetri pulled one back for India in the 12th minute.
After that it was one way traffic but South Korea only scored twice more in the game through Ji Dong and Heung Min Son and Sunil Chhetri could have scored India's second late on.
Bob Houghton named an unchanged line-up from the match against Bahrain while Korea made one change as Kwak Tae Kwi returned from suspension to replace Lee Jung Soo at the heart of the defense.
Renedy Singh had to be taken off after just a couple of minutes as the player looked in discomfort. Deepak Mandal came in while Syed Nabi filled in the left wing slot.
The Koreans converted the first opportunity of the match as Lee Chung Yong’s cross was parried away by Subrata Paul with Ji Dong Won being at the right place to pick up the pieces to head in the first goal for the Koreans. The Indians protested as in the build-up it appeared that Koo Ja Cheol had handled the ball.
Four minutes later, it was Cha Du Ri’s turn to run down the right flank and send in a cross which was headed by Gouramangi Moirangthem for Koo Ja Cheol to head it for Kwak Tae Hwi only to receive a return ball and do the needful to make it 2-0.
India did manage to pull one back through Sunil Chhetri as the striker was pulled down inside the box by Kwak Tae Hwi leaving the referee Khalil Al Ghamdi no chance but to point to the spot.
In the 19th minute, Lee Chung Yong’s cross into the box saw Koo Ja Cheol header being well kept out by Subrata Paul. Surkumar Singh came to India’s rescue when he made a goalline save after Kwak Tae Hwi’s header from a flag-kick.
Midway through the first session, the Taugeuk Warriors scored another through Ji Dong Won after a brilliant link-up play between Koo Ja Cheol and Park.
Surkumar was once again at hand to deny Dong Won a chance to complete his hat-trick from a corner-kick.
It was Cho Kwang Rae’s side which dominated the play and were passing at ease with India’s left flank players committing horrendous mistakes and unable to keep pace with the Koreans.
Subrata Paul made three saves in as many minutes as the Tigers of Asia upped the tempo with Lee Chung Yong, Dong Won and Kwak Tae Hwi coming close to finding the back of the net.
The Red Devils made twin changes after the break as Son Heung Min and Cho Yong Hyung made their way in Ki Sun and Cha Du Ri.
The Indian custodian was once again called into action as a Lee Yong Rae’s free-kick from the right saw him dive to his right and avert the danger. From a corner-kick, Ji-Sung Park’s miscued kick reached Heung Min as the substitute’s crack on goal forced Subrata put his legs to good use and deny him a goal.
The Hamburg star didn’t have luck again as Chung Yong’s ball across the face of the goal ended in Heung Min’s shot come off the goal-line with an alert Surkumar on guard.
It was Deepak Mandal’s turn to save India from conceding another goal as he made a goal-line save from a corner-kick after Subrata Paul came off his line.
In the 71st minute, Chung Yong and Chung Yong combined well but the former missed the target and a couple of minutes later, he once again failed to complete his hat-trick after Subrata Paul was out of position to send his shot over the bar.
For the final twelve minutes or so, Bhaichung Bhutia was introduced which drew immense cheer from the Indian fans as the Indian football icon made his way in.
Heung Min at last got his share of the pie as he got behind the Indian defense to slot home the fourth goal of the match.
India had the inside of the crossbar to save the scoreline from getting any worse from a Koo Ja Cheol’s left footer from inside the box.
Minutes later Sunil Chhetri nearly scored India's second when he found himself free inside the box from Steven Dias corner. Korean custodian Sung-Ryong Jung saved twice from Chhetri and then Gouramangi blasted his effort off target.
In the end South Korea only managed to score once in the second half and with Australia beating Bahrain 1-0, the two-time winners finish second in Group C.
India lost all three of their matches and finish rock bottom but they were not expected to get any points. They will take heart from their fighting displays against higher ranked nations and return home with their heads held high.