Saturday, 22 July, 2017

India bow out losing to Malaysia 2-3

Indian women's hockey team Rani Rampal will lead the Indian women’s hockey team at the Hockey World League Semi-Finals
Jan Ortega | 24 June, 2017, 00:07

Spain relentlessly attacked and went on to score two more goals via Lola Riera on the 31st and 36th minute, bringing the score up to 3-1. India have only themselves to blame for this defeat.

Going by form and ranking, world no. 6 India start overwhelming favourites against the 14th-placed Malaysians.

Rahim gave Malaysia the lead when he converted a penalty corner. For India, it is their second defeat against Malaysia in little less than two months.

India remained unbeaten in the tournament until Tuesday, with strong wins against Scotland (4-1), Canada (3-0) and Pakistan (7-1).

Head coach Stephen Van Huizen, who was pleased to have achieved the first objective of the tournament, which is to advance to the quarterfinals, said his side will take a different approach when facing world number six, India Thursday, in the knockout phase. Argentina, who won gold in the Rio Olympics, will face Malaysia in the semi-finals and Holland will play England.The top three teams in this tournament will book their place for the World League Final at Bhubaneswar in the year end. Malaysia pressed hard early on and secured two penalty corners but wasted both the chances.

With the score board reading 2-2 at half-time, the third quarter began with India trying to keep up their momentum.

Drawing confidence from their lone-goal victory in their last meeting during the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, Malaysia banked on packing their territory by pulling the strikers back and frustrating the Indian strikers by denying them time and space.

All of Malaysia's goals came from penalty corners, and both of India's goalkeepers, Vikas Dahiya and Akash Chikte, were beaten at least on one occasion by the sting in the drag-flick of Razie Rahim.

Meanwhile, in other matches of the day, Canada and China will lock horns in 5th-8th classification match while Argentina will play Malaysia in the first semi-final followed by the second last-four clash between hosts England and Netherlands.

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