Kabaddi Masters: Formidable India favourites against South Korea (Preview)

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Dubai, June 28 (IANS) World Champions India will aim to enter the final with a big win when they face South Korea in the second semi-final of the Kabaddi Masters at the Al Wasl Sports Club here on Friday.

India has had a dream run in the six-nation tournament, winning all their four group matches a with big points difference and in the upcoming crucial tie, Ajay Thakur-led India will be looking to continue with the form.

India thrashed arch-rivals Pakistan and Kenya twice each by big margins to seal the semis spot. In the first match of Group A, India thrashed Pakistan 36-20, then Kenya 48-19.

That was followed yet another humiliation of Pakistan, this time by a 41-17 scoreline. In their last group game, India again thrashed Kenya 50-15.

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India’s defenders and raiders are going through a purple patch. Raiders like Ajay Thakur, Rishank Devadiga, Monu Goyat, Rahul Chaudhari displayed their brilliance in the group stages while defenders Surjeet, Surender Nada, Girish Maruti also contributed handsomely.

Indian coach Srinivas Reddy also seemed confident about the upcoming tie. He said that India have some brilliant raiders which their opponents lack.

He said South Korea has quickness and agility but they lack finishing which might cost them.

“The Korean players are good but we have defeated them recently (Asian Championships) in the semi-finals. I think their moral in this tournament is not up to that mark. I am expecting them to top their group but they failed,” the coach told reporters.

Iran, who came into the tournament with their second string team, topped Group B. They also defeated South Korea twice.

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Reddy said that if the second string team of Iran can beat the main side of South Korea, then the gap in standards ws obvious.

Skipper Ajay also promised that this time they wont repeat 2016 World Cup fisco, where India were beaten by South Korea.

On the other hand, South Korea, who failed to display their spark, would like to forget the past and hoping to do an upset on Friday.

The main worry for the South Korea is that apart from their start player Jang Kun Lee no other player stepped up to the occasion. Their team struggled with the team combinations as in the last for matches no player provided the support to Lee.

But South Korea coach said despite not having a great tournament, his team will try to give India hard times on Friday.

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Apart from Lee, the main focus will be on Ko Young Chang, Eom Tae Deok, Kim Seong Ryeol and Dung Ju Hong. If these five players clicked on Friday then the fans could witness the upset.

The South Korean coach also said that these five players were the key for the match against India and is also hopefull to win the fixture.

The first semi-final of the day will be played between Iran and Pakistan. Iran topped Group B, winning all their matches while Pakistan finished second. Pakistan lost two matches in the meet and both against arch-rivals India.

–IANS

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