2016 Kabaddi World Cup :: Jang Kun Lee: Iran deserved to win - News

Jang Kun Lee: Iran deserved to win

22 October 2016

Iran knocking out Republic of Korea in the first semi-final of the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup was not only a plain victory but a fair warning to hosts India on what they could expect on the day of the final. As one of the most tactical sides in the tournament, Iran’s exploits are as beyond admiration as they are beyond our grasp.

No one could have imagined a semi-final quite like Republic of Korea versus Iran – a low-scoring thriller that was well fought throughout. The Koreans’ knack for comebacks was limited by Iran’s strategy which was completely shrouded in mystery up until the last five minutes of the game. Their playmaking revolved around stopping Korean powerhouse Jang Kun Lee in his own tracks and displaying a raging, aggressive game against the opponents – basically, giving them a taste of their own medicine. The result? A mesmerising Iranian comeback!

The Koreans were left teary-eyed at the end of their heart-breaking loss, but they were all praise for Iran, who made the final of the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup.

“Iran started playing aggressively in the second half; our players panicked. Iran has a lot more experience than us and that helped them win today. Jang Kun Lee, as you know, is our best player and he collects the most bonus points in every game. Iran had prepared well to face him, and they defended well,” Korean captain Dong Ju Hong said at the post-match media interaction.

Star raider Jang Kun Lee also echoed the skipper’s sentiment. “Today, we had some problem with teamwork; we made a lot of mistakes and we had to pay for them. Iran played well and deserved to win.”

Republic of Korea may have run into problems only in the second half but it was Iran that strangely seemed a bit off-colour in the first 20 minutes. Their technical manager Kewel Chand Suthar was quick to acknowledge that. “I admit we went down easily in the first half, but we figured them out during the break and made sure we didn’t repeat them. The team has played well, but not up to their full potential. We are not satisfied with our performance; we could’ve performed better,” he reflected.

The second half saw Iran make a strong comeback leading to the win. Was there any reason for the dialled-up aggression after the break?

“This was our strategy for the game. We had planned to defend well and not give as many points as possible. We had to be a little aggressive, because Republic of Korea is a strong team,” Suthar explained.

The stage is now set for Iran to play for the big trophy on Saturday. The manager was confident of his boys going the distance. “We have players who have played in Star Sports Pro Kabaddi. They have the experience of playing against the Indian players, so this helps us in our preparations to face India,” he signed off.

Coverage of the grand final begins 19:45 IST on the Star network and hotstar. Don’t miss it!