After an easy outing against Kazakhstan in the opening game, the Indian women’s team knew it would only get tougher in the second round of the Hockey World League here. So, it was against a gritty Malaysia, ranked 10 places below World No. 12 India. The host won 3-0, but the score line hardly reflected the close contest.
India got its first goal through a deflection from Vandana Katariya off the first penalty corner in the seventh minute. The host wasted two penalty corners before Vandana’s second goal in the second minute of the second half doubled the lead.
Counter-attacking after a failed Malaysian penalty corner in the very first minute post break, Sushila Chanu’s precise cross from just inside the circle was converted by Vandana. Rani Rampal put the issue beyond doubt in the 29th minute in a goalmouth melee.
India coach Neil Hawgood had expressed concern about giving away possession inside the opposition 25-yard line, and the problem persisted against Malaysia.
India was saved only by the inexperience of the Malaysian forwards.
In the 25th minute, Nor Azlin Sumantri hit wide from in front of an open goal with the Indian goalkeeper Yogita Bali drawn forward. Soon, Fazilla Silin Sylvester’s pass from the right went waste. Sylvester was again unlucky when her shot hit the post.
Japan continued to fire, slamming in 11 goals against Kazakhstan for its second win on the trot.
In another match, Russia bounced back from its shock defeat to Malaysia on the first day and pummelled Fiji 9-0.
India 3 (Vandana Katariya 2, Rani Rampal) bt Malaysia 0; Russia 9 (Alina Krasnoperova 3, Yana Doronina 2, Ekaterina Shaburova 2, Ksenia Svezhentseva, Margarita Drepenkina) bt Fiji 0; Japan 11 (Mazuki Arai 3, Shiho Sakai, Miyuki Nakagawa, Yuri Nagai, Kumi Banda, Akiko Ota, Ayaka Nishimura, Rika Komazawa) bt Kazakhstan 0.