Pakistan and South Korea players in action during their semifinal of the Asian Champions Trophy in Dhaka on Tuesday. LAHORE: South Korea defeated Pakistan 6-5 in the semifinal of the Asian Hockey Champions Trophy as the national team for the first time failed to reach the final of the event in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Tuesday. The first semifinal proved to be very interesting and breathtaking with a total of 11 goals scored. South Korea’s drag flicker Chang scored a hat-trick and netted the ball four times. Mubashir Ali posted the ball into net twice while Umar Bhutta, Junaid Manzoor and Mohammad Afraz bagged a goal apiece. It should be noted that in this event consisting of five teams, Pakistan had reached the semifinal only by defeating Bangladesh. Japan will now take on South Korea in the summit clash, while India will be once again up against Pakistan in the bronze medal clash after they were thrashed by Japan 5-3 in the second semifinal. The tone was set in the opening 100 seconds. It took India only five seconds to steal the ball from the push-back and surge towards the Japanese goal, carrying on from where they left off a couple of days ago when they hammered six goals past the same opponents. However, it turned out that those were the only five seconds India showed any kind of intent in the semifinal. The moment Japan intercepted the ball, the match slipped out of India’s hands. In the 95 seconds that followed, Japan earned five penalty corners, a penalty stroke and scored two goals. For the rest of the match, Japan didn’t let the early momentum slip. They played with the same speed and intensity on turnovers, passed with clinical precision and were as ruthless inside the ‘D’ as they were in the opening minute and 40 seconds as the Asian Games gold medallists pulled off a stunning win over the Tokyo Olympics bronze medallists to qualify for Wednesday’s (today) final. India have now lost in the semifinals of a continental competition for the second time in the last three years after losing to Malaysia at the 2018 Asian Games. India, the most dominant side of the round-robin stage, didn’t have any answers to the speed and aggression shown by Japan, especially on turnovers. Most of Japan’s potent moves came from the right, from where the attacking trio of Kenta Tanaka, Takuma Niwa and Kazuma Murata tormented the Indian defence, which was totally bereft of composure and surety. Half of the six penalty corners Japan earned in the first five minutes of the match originated from their right and on most occasions, they were avoidable as the Indian defenders weren’t able to trap the ball cleanly. It’s worth reminding that half of the Indian side are playing a competitive international tournament after more than two years. That, though, is true for other teams as well and this wasn’t the first time India have succumbed to aggression. The team has a tendency of making mistakes and poor decisions when put under pressure by their opponents. For instance, with seconds remaining before the half-time break, Jaskaran Singh had the ball inside the Japanese half with plenty of passing options in front of him. But instead of passing the ball forward and creating an attacking move, he played it back to a defender, thus relieving the pressure built on the Japanese defence. Moments earlier, Dilpreet Singh made his displeasure known to Nilam Xess for staying stationary off the ball, thus being unable to reach a pass made in his direction. And late in the match, when India needed quality, Hardik Singh’s injection for a penalty corner missed his intended target by at least a couple of yards. The lack of intent, poor off-the-ball running, and unforced errors meant India could not create even one goal-scoring chance in the first quarter. However, much against the run of play, India pulled one back 12 seconds into the second period, with Dilpreet scoring from a goal-mouth melee. The goal brought some calmness into the Indian game and Manpreet, along with his deputy Harmanpreet Singh, controlled the pace better. But any hopes of an Indian comeback were diffused after another defensive mistake allowed Japan to restore the two-goal cushion. Goalkeeper Krishan Pathak tackled Tanaka from behind, preventing a goal-scoring opportunity, and after Japan asked for a referral, they were awarded their second penalty stroke of the match. Yoshiki Kirishita scored from the spot, slotting the ball to the goalkeeper’s right; just like Raiki Fujishima in the second minute. Japan used their blistering pace to score two in quick succession in the third quarter and go 5-1 up, thus putting the result of the match beyond doubt. India scored a couple of goals late in the fourth quarter but they proved to be consolations. They had already been blown away by the Japanese blitz.