Kuala Lumpur (22 January, 2017): Malaysia’s plans of turning the table around on Ireland did not materialise when the host lost 3-0 in the final of the Women Hockey World League Round 2 at the Tun Razak Stadium today.
Dharmaraj’s Malaysia’s Tigress went into the final determined to erase the 2-1 defeat against Graham Shaw’s Green Army in a Pool B match last week but were halted by their own inability to score from a penalty stroke in the first quarter and also take advantage of several penalty corners that came in the game.
But more importantly the Malaysians, alongside the Irish, booked a spot in the Women Hockey World League Semi-Finals which will be held in Belgium (June 21-July 2) and South Africa (July 8-23).
Speaking after the defeat, Malaysia’s head coach, K. Dharmaraj, said: “These girls have shown they have the potential to play against higher ranked teams in the world. They can go far and our second phase of journey to the World League Semi-Finals starts tonight.”
He added: “Today’s final was a good match. We just missed a lot of chances but the girls have had a real tough match against Italy on Saturday which went into shootout and were tired. I am not saying this just because we lost. Ireland is a very strong team and it was never going to be easy playing against teams ranked higher than us but we did give them a tough fight.”
The world ranked 16 Irish side were presented with another round of high quality competition by the 21-ranked Malaysia’s Tigress but it was the Irish who broke the deadlock in the seventh minute when an unmarked Anna O’Flanagan latched on a cross from Chloe Watkins in front of the goalmouth to put the ball past goalkeeper Farah Ayuni Yahya.
It was Anna’s 12th goal in the tournament and she was aptly awarded the top scorer’s award.
However, in a counter attack, the Malaysians were presented a penalty stroke two minutes later but drag-flick specialist Noraini Rashid shot wide.
The Irish pressed further for more goals. Kathryn Mullan and Zue Wilson eventually found their way through in the Malaysian defence, scoring goals from field goal (10th) and penalty corner (34th) respectively.
Though the Irish dominated much of play in the second half and there was no progress from the Malaysians who missed out on several opportunities, Ireland went on to emerge champions. As for Malaysia’s Tigress, the World League Round 2 provided a huge boost to their upcoming campaign in the Semi-Finals stage of the World League in June.
Italy defeated Wales 3-1 to finish third in the Kuala Lumpur edition of the Women Hockey World League Round 2. Forward Valentina Braconi scored a double (33rd and 54th minutes) from penalty corners after Celina Traverso gave the Italians a 25th minute lead via field goal and Sian French reduced the deficit for Wales in the 35th minute.
The Italians, who are ranked 15 in the world, suffered a shock 2-1 defeat in a sudden-death shootout against the Malaysians following a 2-2 draw in regulation time, still have an outside chance of qualifying for the World League Semi-finals which will be held in Belgium (June 21-July 2) and South Africa (July 8-23).
This, however, depends on final rankings after the conclusion of two more editions of the World League Round 2 in Valencia, Spain (Feb 4-12) and Vancouver, Canada (March 25-April 2, 2017).
Thailand, placed 31 in the FIH Hero World Rankings, ended its foray here with a fifth-place finish following a 3-1 penalty shootout victory against World No 43 Singapore after a scoreless game in regulation time.
The Thais defeated the Singaporeans 4-0 in a Pool A match last week but were hard pressed to keep a transformed Singaporean side at bay today. Supansa Samanso, Praphatson Khuiklang and Anongnat Piresram scored for Thailand whilst only Ong Yang Ting was successful for Singapore.
Kazakhstan, ranked World No 33, took maximum points against Hong Kong with a 3-2 win to finish seventh here. The Kazaks earned a penalty corner in the second minute and Symbat Sabazova converted to give Kazakhstan a 1-0 lead before Olga Khonina doubled the lead in the 32nd minute from open play.
Hong Kong, however, reduced the deficit with a field goal through Chang Ching Nam in the 40th minute but Gulim Idirissova shot Kazakhstan 3-1 ahead nine minutes later. Tiffany Chan scored for Hong Kong from a penalty corner in the last few seconds of play.
RESULTS (22 January, 2017):
Final: Ireland 3 Malaysia 0
Third-Fourth placing: Italy 3 Wales 1
5-6th placing: Thailand 0 Singapore 0 (Thailand won 3-1 in penalty shootout)
7-8th placing: Kazakhstan 3 Hong Kong 2
Roll of Honour:
Best Goalkeeper: Ayeisha McFerran (Ireland)
Best Player: Anna O’ Flanagan (Ireland)
Best Junior Player: Hanis Nadiah Onn (Malaysia)
Top Scorer: Anna O’ Flanagan (Ireland)