India enters quarter-final in Women’s Hockey Asia Cup
Kakamigahara: India continued their winning form as they beat Malaysia 2-0 in their last Pool A match at the Womens Asia Cup held at Kakamigahara Kawasaki Stadium here on Tuesday.
Vandana Katariya (54th minute) and Gurjit Kaur (55th) scored for India’s third successive win in the pool stage.
The win ensured a quarter-final berth as India head the points table with nine points.
The first quarter saw both teams play cautiously. With Malaysia playing defensive hockey, India threaded patiently without making any unforced errors that would bring advantage to Malaysia.
Having ended the first quarter in a stalemate, Malaysia put India on the back foot when they won the first penalty corner of the match in the initial minutes of the second quarter.
However, an alert Rajani Etimarpu made a brilliant save. The next few minutes saw both teams trade penalty corners. While India earned one penalty corner, Malaysia were awarded two but they didn’t lead to goals.
Both teams played out evenly in the third quarter too. Another penalty corner won by Malaysia was not capitalised by them, ending the third quarter too in a stalemate.
India held their nerves to turn the match around in the fourth quarter as they came up with a strong finish. First, forward Vandana Katariya scored a sensational field goal in the 54th minute to give India a 1-0 lead.
The following minute saw dragflicker Gurjit Kaur convert a penalty corner taking India’s lead to 2-0 that put pressure on the Malaysian unit.
Though Malaysia won a penalty corner at the start of the fourth quarter, their poor conversion dented their hopes.
Though the Malaysians made desperate attempts to score in the dying minutes of the match, the Indian defence kept away the attackers.