Tuesday February 19, 2013
Roaring start for Malaysian women in New Delhi
By AFTAR SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian women’s hockey team got off to a flying start in Round Two of the World League tournament by upsetting Russia 3-1 at the Major Dhyanchand National Stadium in New Delhi.
The win has put the 22nd-ranked Malaysia on track for a top-two finish in the six-team competition and a place in the semi-finals.
The 20th ranked Russians went on the offensive from the start but it was Malaysia who took the lead off their first penalty corner in the ninth minute.
Skipper Nadia Abdul Rahman’s push was well deflected into goal by Siti Rahmah Othman. The goal boosted the national team’s performance as they created more chances as the game progressed. Malaysia lost 2-1 to Russia in the Champions Challenge II tournament in Kazan, Russia in 2010.
Malaysia kept up the pressure in the second half and doubled their scoreline in 42nd minute. Noor Hasliza Mohd collected a pass from Nurul Nabihah to slam the ball past Russia keeper Oxnan Serezhkina.
However, the Russian managed to reduce deficit off a penalty corner goal by Alexandra Zhashkova in the 58th minute.
Six minute later, from a counter attack, Malaysia scored their third goal through forward Fazilla Sylvester Silin to complete the rout. Goalkeeper Farah Ayuni Yahya was the toast of the Malaysian team with her numerous saves but ended up injured when she was hit on the knee by a Russian player in the last three minutes of the match.
National coach Mohd Nasihin Nubli praised his players for getting the better of the Russian team.
“It was a great start for us and my girls played well. Our plan of going for counter attacks worked well.
“The defenders also did well to stop the Russian forwards. We scored from the only penalty corner we received and missed few sitters in the first half,” said Nasihin, who hailed Ayuni for her effort.
“However, I am concern with Ayuni’s knee injury which needed three stitches. I hope she can recover in time to play against hosts India tomorrow.
“It would a tough match against top side India but we hope to create another surprise,” said Nasihin in a telephone interview.
Top seed Japan also got off to a winning start by thrashing Fiji 14-0.
Results & Fixtures
Japan 14 Fiji 0; Russia 1 Malaysia 3; India 8 Kazakhstan 0
Fiji vs Russia (6.30pm), Japan vs Kazakhstan (8.30pm), India vs Malaysia (10.30pm)
All matches in Malaysian time