KARACHI: Defending champions South Korea overcame an early 0-1 setback to beat Oman 7-2 in their opening game of the Asia Cup Men’s Hockey Tournament 2017 at the Maulana Bhashani National Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Thursday. Oman surprised the evening audience as they began strongly against defending champions Korea. Good man-to-man defence saw Oman keep Korea from converting any successful circle penetration and eventually ended the first quarter in a stalemate. They had come close to scoring a goal in the 13th minute when Al Fazari Rashad got a reverse stick on the ball but missed the goal post by inches.The missed opportunity, however, did not dent the confidence of Rashad who converted a field goal in the 18th minute to give Oman a head-start against the defending champions. Oman entertained the local crowds as they made brave forays into Korea’s circle and put their defence under pressure. Their counter attack was on the mark and got their basics right with accurate passing and trapping but were unlucky on a few instances when they missed opportunities to convert goals.Oman held on to their 1-0 lead until Mookyoung Lee beat Oman goalkeeper Al Noufali Fahad to score the equalizer in the 22nd minute. Only two minutes into the third quarter Oman won a PC but a poorly executed attempt saw them lose the opportunity to regain lead. Korea on the other hand came back strongly in the third quarter as Cho Suk Hoon converted a field goal to help put Korea in lead. They doubled their lead when Inwoo Seo pumped a field goal past Oman keeper in the 39th minute and followed this up with a finely executed PC by Jihun Yang that took Korea’s lead to a strong 4-1 in the 41st minute.While Oman lost their steam in the final quarter and lacked consistency in their defence, Korea pushed for more goals and were even successful in earning a 5-1 lead when Jongsuk Bae converted a field goal in the 48th minute. Almost immediately, a defensive error on Oman’s part saw them concede a PC. Jonghyun Jang was impressive with his dragflick to ensure a 6-1 lead putting the defending champions in a very comfortable position. Oman weren’t the ones to give up easily though. Their forward Al Qasmi Asaad Mubarak was a delight to watch when he trapped the ball perfectly to swiftly dribble into the circle beating the Korean defender to score a sublime goal in the 52nd minute. A PC won in the dying minute of the match saw Korea’s Jihun Yang convert their 7th goal to end on a sweet note. Next Oman will take on China on October 14 while South Korea will meet Malaysia on the same day. Published in Daily Times, October 13th 2017.