The Indian women’s hockey team recorded its third successive win in the Asia Cup, beating Malaysia 2-0 in the final pool game in Kakamigahara on Tuesday.
India go into the quarterfinals as table toppers with nine points. The late goals by Vandana Katariya (54th minute) and Gurjit Kaur (55) saw the team through against Malaysia.
In the previous match, India scored a 4-1 win over higher-ranked China.
The first quarter saw both teams play cautiously. With Malaysia playing defensive hockey, India waited patiently without making any unforced errors.
Having ended the first quarter in a stalemate, Malaysia put India on the back foot when they won the first PC of the match in the initial minutes of the second quarter. However, an alert Rajani Etimarpu made a brilliant save.
The next few minutes saw both teams trade PCs. While India earned one PC, Malaysia were awarded two but nothing came off it.
Both teams played out evenly in the third quarter too. Another PC won by Malaysia was not capitalised by them, ending the third quarter too in a stalemate.
India held their nerve to turn the match around in the fourth quarter. First it was forward Katariya who scored a sensational field goal in the 54th minute.
The following minute saw drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur convert a PC, taking India’s lead to 2-0 that put pressure on the Malaysians.
Malaysia made desperate attempts in the dying minutes of the match but the Indian defence held sway to emerge victorious.