The Women’s Hockey5s Asia Cup 2023 in Salalah, Oman, is heating up as it enters its third day. As the first-ever Hockey5s Championship at the Asian level, this tournament holds immense significance for participating nations. It not only showcases their talent and determination but also serves as the qualifying pathway to the FIH Hockey5s World Cup 2024. With Oman already securing a spot as the host nation, the competition for the remaining three positions intensifies with each passing day. Day 3 featured several crucial matches that shaped the course of the tournament.
Day 3 Highlights: Decisive Battles Unfold
Hong Kong China vs. Bangladesh (Challenger Pool)
Day 3 began with a pivotal match between Hong Kong China and Bangladesh in the Challenger Pool. This match carried significant implications for the semifinal positions. Hong Kong China managed to secure a crucial victory, defeating Bangladesh with a 10-7 scoreline. McNeil Kirsten and CHAN Yi Man starred for Hong Kong China, while PAL Orpita and RIYA Airin shone for Bangladesh. CHAN Yi Man was named the Player of the Match. This result positioned Hong Kong China for a possible semifinal spot, while Bangladesh would have to contend for 7th/8th place.
Indonesia vs. Chinese Taipei (Challenger Pool)
The second match of the day determined another semifinalist. Indonesia and Chinese Taipei faced off in a high-stakes encounter. Indonesia emerged victorious with a 6-3 scoreline, securing their place in the semifinals. INDIRA Nisa was the standout player, and her performance earned her the Player of the Match award. Chinese Taipei, finishing in fourth place, would now compete for 7th/8th place against Bangladesh.
Iran vs. Oman (Challenger Pool)
The third match of the day featured a contest between Oman and Iran, both seeking to avoid the bottom positions on the table. In a closely contested encounter, Iran managed to secure a 4-1 victory, lifting them off the bottom of the table. ELMIRA Poupash and ABBASI Pania were among the goal-scorers for Iran, while AHAD scored for Oman. These teams would face each other again on the following day to determine their final positions.
India vs. Thailand (Elite Pool)
The day’s action continued with an Elite Pool match between India and Thailand. This match featured the top two teams in the standings and was pivotal in deciding semifinal matchups. In a highly entertaining encounter, India narrowly defeated Thailand 5-4. The match showcased the talent of both teams, with Kaur Navjot, Toppo Dipi Monika, and Kujur Ajmina scoring for India, and PIRESRAM Anongnat, AUNJAI Natthakarn, and KONTHONG Suwapat netting goals for Thailand. The Player of the Match award went to YIMKRAJANG Siraya, Thailand’s goalkeeper.
Malaysia vs. Japan (Elite Pool)
The final match in the Elite Pool featured Malaysia against Japan. Japan secured their first win of the tournament, defeating Malaysia 4-2. KODA Koko was the star for Japan, scoring a hat-trick, while AZIZ Zafirah netted both goals for Malaysia. With these results, both teams would enter the crossover matches, where they would compete with teams from the Challenger Pool for a place in the semifinals. KODA Koko received the Player of the Match award, and special recognition was given to ARAI Mazuki.
Japan vs. Indonesia (Crossover 1)
Following their Elite Pool match, Japan faced Indonesia in the first crossover match. In a hard-fought battle with few goals but intense defense, Indonesia emerged victorious with a 2-1 scoreline. MAULANI Salma and INDIRA Nisa scored for Indonesia, while NAKASECHI Risa found the net for Japan. This victory secured Indonesia a place in the semifinals, while Japan would compete for 5th/6th place.
Malaysia vs. Hong Kong China (Crossover 2)
The second crossover match featured Malaysia against Hong Kong China. Malaysia dominated the match, securing a 5-3 victory and positioning themselves for a possible spot in the semifinals. MUHAMAD Zati, Wan Wan, AZIZ Zafirah, and Nazeri Dian scored for Malaysia, while WONG Ching Lung, Lau Pui Sze, and McNeil Kirsten scored for Hong Kong China. With this result, Hong Kong China would face Japan for 5th/6th place in the tournament.
Day 3 of the Women’s Hockey5s Asia Cup 2023 was marked by thrilling encounters, intense competition, and crucial victories. With the semifinalists now determined and crossover matches completed, the stage is set for the next phase of the tournament. As teams prepare for the semifinals and the battle for final positions, the excitement and anticipation continue to build. The Women’s Hockey5s Asia Cup 2023 has showcased the extraordinary talent and determination of the participating nations, and fans eagerly await the upcoming matches that will determine the ultimate victors and the qualifiers for the FIH Hockey5s World Cup 2024 in Muscat, Oman.