New Delhi, Feb 19: India notched up its second consecutive win in the women’s Hero Hockey World League Round 2 beating Malaysia 3-0 in an evenly contested match at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here Tuesday.
Vandana Katariaa (9th, 38th) struck in both the halves and Rani Rampal (65th) completed the scoreline with five minutes left for the hooter as India took its tally to six points from two matches.
The top two teams from round two will qualify for the semifinal. The World League is a qualifying tournament for the 2014 World Cup in Hague.
For World No.12 India, who thrashed Kazakhstan 8-0 in the first match Monday, it wasn’t easy going against the Malaysians, who are 22nd in the FIH rankings.
The Indian defence had to withstand the pressure of quick Malaysian attacks on more than one occasion. The Malaysian are a fit and agile outfit but it was lack of experience and poor finishing that did them in.
Malaysia had two clear chances from which they should have scored. Once center-half Nor Azlin Sumantri just had to beat India goalkeeper Yogita Bali but she shot wide.
India were clinical in their approach but had to fight hard in the first half. They didn’t have many opportunities upfront in the first half but made the most of the one that came their way. In the second half they stepped up the tempo as the Malaysians ran out of steam.
Though it were the Malaysians, who earned the first penalty corner as early as in the second minute, it were the Indians who drew first blood. India went 1-0 up in the eighth minute after Vandana deflected in Jaspreet Kaur’s shot from the penalty corner.
The Malaysians fought hard to find the equalizer but the Indian defence looked determined. A poor clearance by Joydeep in the 25th minute at the center-line almost cost India dear as Nor latched onto the loose ball and made a quick run and had only the goalkeeper to beat, but she squandered the opportunity by hitting it wide.
Three minutes later, Indians earned their second penalty corner but in their attempt to try a variation they messed it up.
After the breather, the Malaysians took just a minute to earn their second penalty corner that went in vain and what followed was a strong counter attack by the Indians that helped them to double the lead. Rani Rampal, taking advantage of a loose ball, made a brilliant run down the right flank and entered the D and passed it on to Anupa Barla, who in turn set-up Vandana to sound the board.
Rani completed the 3-0 scoreline in the 65th minute with a gentle strike leaving Malysian goalkeeper Nadia Rahman Abdul as a mute spectator.
India coach Neil Hawgood said he was happy to get three points but was not impressed with the performance of his girls.
“Happy that we got three points but I am very disappointed with the performance of the team. Winning today was important but still a lot of work needs to be done in the team,” he said.
Hawgood said it was the one of worst performance by the team since he took over in July.
“This was one of the worst performance I have seen since I took over. But even with their worst performance they can win 3-0, I think they can do much better when they play well,” the Australian said.
India have a rest day Wednesday and face Fiji in their next match Thursday.