The Indian men’s volleyball team, on Wednesday, caused a major upset as they took down the three-time champions South Korea 3-2 in their Pool C match at the ongoing 2022 Asian Games in Hangzhou.
Though India surrendered the first set 25-27, they bounced back well by winning the next two 29-27, 25-22 respectively.
With a shocking loss on the cards, the 2018 silver medallists South Korea pulled up their socks to win the fourth set 25-20 to push the match into a decider.
The decider saw tides switching in both directions before India had two match points at 14-12. The Korean’s, however, bounced back to not only save those points but to take the lead at 15-14.
As a historic victory looked to be slipping out of grasp, India found a hero in Manjunath Lakshmipuram, who first came up with a brilliant spike to help India draw level before putting them ahead with a block.
With yet another match point in their favour, Erin Varghese closed out the match for India with a good block at the net.
“It was a very topsy turvy match. There was a bit of pressure on us but we had good communication in the middle. We were tactically sound as well and slowed down the match whenever needed,” said India’s Ashwal Rai to broadcasters Sony post the match.
“This is a very big win for us to beat such a good team,” he added.
With this win India tops Pool C and can hope for a favourable draw in the next stage - Round of 12. They had earlier defeated Cambodia 3-0 on Tuesday.
“This win bring is a big moment of happiness to all of us. The outcome of your hardwork is always unparalled,” echoed Indian coach Tom Joseph.
“This win will act as a morale booster for us. Defeating a team like Korea is a rare achievement for us and we have shown we can do that,” he added.
Ranked 27th in the world, South Korea are Asian giants in volleyball. They have finished on the podium in every edition of the Asian Games since the 1966 Bangkok Games.
India, on the other hand, are ranked 73rd in the world and last finished on the podium in the 1986 Asian Games in Seoul.