Defending champions Kazakhstan booked a place in the final of the women’s competition of Asian Indoor Championship with a 2-1 win over gritty Malaysia.
They were forced to work hard by the Malaysians who defended well and hardly gave space to their opponents.
In the end, it was the experience and good finishing that saw Kazakhstan book their place in Sunday’s final.
“ We played well but just could not find the final touch to score,” said Malaysian coach Yahya Atan.
“ It was a good performance nonetheless and I now have the task to lift their spirits to get the third place tomorrow.”
The first three minutes showed the pattern of play, Malaysia opting to reduce the pace of the match with Kazakhstan the aggressions.
That suited Kazakhstan who upped the ante and opened scoring in the 6th minute as captain Natalya Gataulina sidestepped the onrushing Malaysian keeper Siti Nasir to put Kazakhstan 1-0 ahead.
Malaysia were awarded their first penalty corner in the 8th minute but failed to make it count.
Though Kazakhstan tried, the Malaysian defence held firm and at halftime, it was 1-0 in favour of Kazakhstan.
Barely two minutes upon resumption, Kazakhstan doubled their advantage as Vera Domnesheva scored.
Malaysia reduced the deficit in the 32nd minute as captain Ellya Elias ghosted in on the left to score and put her team back in contention.
Try as they did, the Malaysian girls could not find the equaliser.