Indian women overwhelm Malaysia, enter semifinals

Indian women in action against China. Indian women on Friday outclassed Malaysia and booked a semifinal berth in women's hockey at the 17th Asian Games in Incheon. File photo  

India overwhelmed Malaysia 6-1 to ensure a place in the semifinals from Pool A of the women’s hockey competition at the Asian Games on Friday.

Barring a few minutes nearing the end of the third quarter when Malaysia scored, the Indians controlled the encounter.

A draw or a win was the pre-match situation with India enjoying a plus-two goal advantage, but the team came through with flying colours.

It would be difficult to identify one player for any commendation. Everyone contributed in equal measure. What really injected verve into the Indians’ approach was the splendid goal that Rani scored in the early part of the first half with an eye-catching reverse flick. She dodged two defenders and scored. She slotted home another in the third quarter making capital of a scrimmage in front of the Malaysian goal.

The cynosure of all eyes was Jaspreet Kaur when it came to execution of penalty corners. She converted two, piloting the ball to the roof of the net with nonchalance.

Namita Toppo displayed a fine sense of timing and opportunism to position herself to meet a cross from Poonam Rani. A neat deflection left the Malaysian goalkeeper helpless.

Even the last goal before the whistle by Vandana Kataria was notable for its execution and accuracy.

The midfield remained alert right through owing to the vigil maintained by Chanu and Ritu. The deep defenders were wobbly for a brief period in the third quarter when Malaysia forced a penalty corner and scored through Nadia. The goal inspired the Malaysians who were unlucky to get the second goal, Fazila Binti’s shot hitting the goalpost and spinning back into play. Now, India has to contend with Korea in the semifinals.

The results: Women: Pool B: Japan 8 (Arai Mazaki 3, Akhane Shibata 2, Ono Mayuni 2, Yoshiro Kasahara) bt Kazakhstan 0; Korea 8 (Au Hyoju, Park Mihyun, Kim Jongejeun 2, Darae Kim, Lee Youngsil, Kim Hyunji, Cheon Enubi) bt Hong Kong 0.

Pool A: China 5 (Xu Xiaoxu 2, Wu Menrong, Zhang Yudiao, Xi Xiayun) bt Thailand 0; India 6 (Jaspreet Kaur 2, Rani 2, Poonam Rani, Vandana Kataria) bt Malaysia 1 (Nadia Abdul Rehman). Semifinal line-up: China vs Japan; Korea vs India.

Saturday’s matches: Men: Pool B: Pakistan vs Oman (11.30 a.m.); India vs China (1.30 p.m.).

Pool A: Malaysia vs Japan (1.30 p.m.); Korea vs Bangladesh (3.30 p.m.).

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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 6:36:34 AM |

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