Friday February 22, 2013
Malaysia down Kazakhstan to keep semis hopes alive
By AFTAR SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian women’s hockey team kept alive their slim hopes of a place in the semi-finals of the World League with a 3-1 victory over Kazakhstan at the Major Dhyanchand National Stadium in New Delhi yesterday.
It was Malaysia’s second win, giving them six points from three matches. They upset Russia (3-1) before losing to hosts India (3-0).
Malaysia have two more matches remaining against winless Fiji today and top seeds Japan on Sunday. They have to win both matches if they harbour any hopes of finishing in the top two to qualify for the semi-finals of the World League in June or July.
Malaysia, ranked 22nd in the world, went for the jugular against Kazakhstan and were rewarded as early as the fourth minute through a penalty corner goal by Siti Noor Amarina Ruhani. Two more goals by Norhasikin Halim (27th) and Nor Azlin Sumantri (33rd) gave Malaysia a comfortable 3-0 half-time lead.
After the breather, Malaysia kept up the pressure but failed to increase the lead. Kazakhstan, ranked 33rd in the world, managed to score a consolation goal through Vera Domashneva in the 68th minute.
National coach Mohd Nasihin Nubli was not too pleased with his team’s performance despite the win.
“We missed too many sitters. Our forwards need to be more accurate once they are in the semi-circle. I hope that they will score more goals against Fiji tomorrow,” said Nasihin in a telephone interview.
Japan lead the standings after beating Russia 3-2 in a penalty shooutout for their third consecutive win. Both teams battled to a 1-1 deadlock in regulation time.