South Korea, Pakistan reach Asia Cup final

A hat-trick by You Hyo-Sik gave South Korea a 5-1 win over China while Rehan Butt led Pakistan to a 4-2 victory over Malaysia in the Asia Cup semifinals.

updated: May 14, 2009 16:14 IST
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Kuantan, Malaysia:

A hat-trick by You Hyo-Sik gave South Korea a 5-1 win over China while Rehan Butt led Pakistan to a 4-2 victory over Malaysia in the semifinals of the Asia Cup on Thursday.

China, who also lost to the South Korea in the 2006 Doha Asian Games final, scored first when Na Yu Bo deflected in a Hu Hui Ren's penalty corner in the 11th minute.

But South Korea, ranked No.5 in the world, equalized when Kim Byung-hoon scored off a penalty corner in the 29th minute. The Koreans then added four more scores in the second half.

South Korea took a 2-1 lead on a solo effort by You in the 36th. You again showed his class five minutes later, outpacing three China defenders from the top 'D' before sending the ball into the net.

The fourth goal came from another individual effort, this time from Hyun Hye-sung in the 56th minute. You completed his hat-trick and the scoring with a simple tap in with two minutes left on the clock.

"I told my players to play it cool in the first half as I wanted to learn about China's tactical play," said the Korean coach Cho Myung-jun.

"I decided to change my team's style a little and it worked in the second half. China caused anxious moments when they scored first but I knew my team would win the match," he said.

South Korea won the Asia Cup in 1993 and 1999 and finished second to India in 2007.

A victory in the final against Pakistan on Saturday will give it a spot in next year's World Cup in New Delhi.

In Thursday's other semifinal, Pakistan also suffered an early shock.

Ismail Abu's sizzling reverse stick, after a pass from Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Jalil, gave Malaysia a 1-0 lead after just four minutes.

The rattled Pakistanis were lucky that their defense, led by Sohail Abbas, did not let in another goal as Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin's slick stick work caught them unawares several times in the semicircle.

But Pakistan recovered its composure and in the 18th minute Butt equalized when he deflected in a cross from youngster Haseem Khan.

In the second half, Butt turned provider when his cross was met by Akhtar Ali, who directed the ball into the goal in the 46th minute. Butt and Haseem Khan then put the result beyond doubt when they scored in the 63rd and 66th minutes, respectively.

Ismail earned his second goal for Malaysia off a penalty corner set-piece in the 70th minute.