Singapore, Nov 1 (IANS) India defeated Malaysia 2-0 to remain firmly in contention for a place in the final of the five-nation Asian Champions Trophy women’s hockey tournament here on Tuesday.
Playing the first game of the day, India thwarted Malaysia’s attempts to take the lead as Poonam scored a well executed field goal to give her team the lead before Deepika doubled it with a successful penalty corner conversion in the 45th minute.
This win helped Neil Hawgood-coached India to stay atop the pool table with seven points from three matches. They had earlier drawn Japan 2-2 before beating South Korea 3-2.
On Tuesday, Indian eves were stubborn in defence throughout the game and did not allow the Malaysians too many forays into their circle. In fact, right till the end, the Malaysian team was denied an opportunity to seek penalty corners.
Though the opponents made desperate attempts at field goals, they were palmed away rather brilliantly by Indian custodian Rajani to help preserve India’s lead.
The Indian eves continued to put up an inspired show as they came back stronger after the halftime, when Deepika converted a penalty corner in the 45th minute.
Until now, India on three occasions have failed to convert a penalty corner despite trying different variations. However, Deepika’s experience and presence of mind helped the side in taking a 2-0 lead over a hapless Malaysian team.
With this goal, Deepika also became the highest goal scorer in the tournament with three goals against her name.
The final quarter saw India hold their nerve and deny any room for Malaysia to come back into the game.
The world No.12 team will face No.8 China in their final round-robin contest on Friday.
The top two teams at the end of the round-robin stage will directly qualify for the final, while the third and the fourth best teams will play the bronze medal encounter on Saturday.