India defeated hosts Malaysia 2-0 to qualify for the semi-finals of the eighth women’s Asia Cup hockey tournament here on Tuesday.
Poonam Rani (39th) and Lily Chanu (46th) scored two second half goals at the Stadium Hoki Nasional to seal India’s place in the last-four stage of the eight-nation tournament.
With six points in their kitty, the Indian eves finished their Pool A engagements on second position behind China (nine points).
India will now face Pool B toppers Korea in the first semi-final on Thursday, while China will take on Japan in the second last-four match.
India had earlier spanked Hong Kong China 13-0 in their tournament opener before going down to defending champions China by a solitary goal in their next game.
Knowing well that only a win in the tournament will guarantee them a place in next year’s World Cup, the Indian eves started cautiously against Malaysia, who were backed by a vociferous home crowd.
The Indians looked far from promising in the first half as the Rani Rampal-led forwardline failed to breach the Malaysian defence. Both the teams created a few chances but they failed to break the deadlock in the first half.
After the change of ends, the Indians came out with more purpose and took the lead in the 39th minute through a field goal from Poonam Rani.
Poonam’s goal raised India’s confidence and they went for relentless attacks, which resulted in doubling their lead soon.
Lily Chanu made the scoreline 2-0 in favour of India in the 46th minute through another field strike.
Thereafter, the Indians played sensibly and denied Malaysia any opening to make a comeback into the match.