KUALA LUMPUR: India overcame the hosts Malaysia to win 2-0 and booked their semi-final berth in the 8th Women’s Asia Cup at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil, while Japan thumped Kazakhstan 12-0 to stay in final four.
The Asia Cup is also a World Cup qualifier. China and South Korea has already booked their tickets to Holland through the World Hockey League. Japan and India, who face China and Korea respectively in the semi finals on Thursday, need to win the Asia Cup title to go through to Holland.
The Malaysians did well to hold the Indian eves to a scoreless first half. But the tide changed in the second half with the Indians started pushing forward in greater numbers in search of that elusive goal. India scored through Poonam Rani and Lily Chanu to win the match.
The Indians caught the hosts on counter to score in 39th minute with a field attempt and doubled the lead with another field goal in 46th minute. The Malaysians tried hard and had a couple of chances but could not capitalize on them.
Malaysian coach Mohmed Nasihin Nubli said that they played well and were not able to sustain their defensive play in the second half.
“They caught us fast n the break early in the second half. We should have been more alert. But the players did well and it was probably our best game in the tournament.
“Now we will try to finish as high as possiblewhich is to ensure that we remain the fifth ranked team in Asia,” he said.
Earlier in the evening, Japan booked their berth in the semi-finals by thrashing Kazakhstan 12-0. The Japanese collected six points after three matches and joined South Korea from the group.
The match was one-sided affair from the start as the world number eight paced themselves well to notch a big win.
Mazuki Arai scored a hat-trick for Japan with goals in the 3rd, 40th and 70th minutes. Akane Shibata (2nd and 19th minute) and Aya Ueda (26th, 59th) had a brace in the match, while Akiko Ota (8), MiyuriNagakawa (15), Mayuri Ono (21), Shiho Skai (64) and Aki Matsuhashi (68) found the target once each.
Japanese coach Yoo Seung-jin said that their focus is making the final and winning the title.
“That is our route to the World Cup. So making the semi final is a big step forward. We wanted to win this match as there is no reason to falter at this stage.
“I am happy with the performance of my players and we need to stay focus on the semi-final. We play China and that will be tough encounter. That is why I did not want my players to be overly relaxed today and to take the match seriously,’ he said.
China ended their campaign in a Group A with their third win in as many matches to top the Group, as defeated Hong Kong 7-0 without any difficulty. Liang Meiyu scored a hat-trick in the match for China in the 27th, 48th and 51st minutes, while the other goal scorers were Peng Yang (13), XuXiaoxu (37), xi Xiayun (42) and Wang Na in the 49th minutes.
In Group B, the South Koreans went on a rampage to beat Chinese Taipei 16-2. The Koreans topped the group with maximum nine points.
Skipper Kim Jong-eun and Kim Da-rae scored four goals each n the match. CheonEun-bi scored a hattrick while CheonSeul-ki scored a brace. The other goal scorers were Park Seung-a, Lee Yeung-sil and Park Ki-ju. Chinese Taipei’s first goal on the tournament came from Chen Chen-tzu and was followed by a second from Su Peung.