In their final group stage match of the Women’s Hockey Asia Cup 2013 tournament, Indian women were up against the home team Malaysia in the Hoki Nasional Stadium in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
After facing defeat by a margin of one goal against the agile Chinese team, Indian women performed as per the expectations of the fans in this do or die encounter against the hosts Malaysia, and registered a decent victory by 2-0 to book a slot for them in the semi-finals of the Asia Cup 2013.
Holding their nerves in their last group stage encounter of the Women’s Hockey Asia Cup 2013 tournament, Indian team defeated the hosts Malaysia 2-0 in a must win match. The hosts presented a strong game of hockey in the first 35 minutes and no goal was scored in the first half. World No.22 Malaysia performed well under the leadership of their 28-year-old captain Nadia Abdul Rahman and didn’t let the Indian side penetrate the Malaysian defence.
After the goalless first half of the match, determined Indian women returned strongly in the second half where star Indian forward Poonam Rani scored the first goal for the team in the 39th minute. Just after 7 minutes of the goal, spirited Indian midfielder Lily Chanu added another goal for the Indian side, in the 46th minute of the game.
Before this particular game, both India and hosts Malaysia had won one match and lost one match in their two group matches in this tournament so far. Both the teams defeated the underdogs Hong Kong earlier but were unable to challenge the strong Chinese attack in this tournament and lost against them.
Malaysia played China on the very first day of the tournament i.e. Saturday 21st September, 2013 and lost the game 0-3. On the other hand, the Indians battled China on 22nd September 2013 and lost the tight encounter 0-1.
It was quite convincing for the Indian side to finish their group stage on a winning node. Winning two out of three games in their group stage, India finished at 2nd position in Pool A. On the other side, World No. 7 China managed victory in all their three games and as a result, topped the Pool A. In the Pool B, World No.8, Korea, finished at the top with three wins, whereas, World No.9, Japan managed the second spot in the pool with two wins.
In the knockout stage of the tournament, India will be locking horns with Korea on Thursday 26th September, 2013 in the Hoki Nasional Stadium in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. On the other side, arch rivals China and Japan will be up against each other in the second semi-final of the tournament on the same day.
The strong attack of China has made them the favourites for this tournament. The winner of this tournament will qualify for the Hockey World Cup 2014, which will take place in Hague, Netherlands next year. The final of Asia Cup 2013 will be played on Friday, 27th September, 2013.