New Delhi: Vandana Kataria struck twice as India beat Malaysia 3-0 to register their second consecutive win in the women`s competition of the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 at the floodlit Major Dhyan Chand Stadium here today.
Contrary to the final outcome of the game, the Indians were far from impressive against Malaysia today as they were expected to win big against a side which is ranked 10 places below them in the world rankings.
The Indian eves looked tired and jaded today and their performance against Malaysia was nowhere near to their 8-0 drubbing of Kazakhstan last night.
Malaysia might have started the match as underdogs but they gave the 12th ranked Indians a run for their money by dominating the early share of exchanges, at least for the first eight minutes of the game.
After sitting back for a brief period in the initial stages of the match, it was India who drew the first blood in the ninth minute when Vandana deflected in Jaspreet Kaur`s hit from the hosts` first penalty corner.
The Malaysians made some promising forays into the Indian `D` thereafter but their forwards lacked vision and purpose.
Malaysia got a golden opportunity to equalise in the 25th minute but Azlin Nor Sumantri missed a sitter as she had Indian goalkeeper Yogita Bali in a one-on-one situation.
Sprinting down the flank after intercepting Joydeep in the midfield, Sumantri just had to beat an onrushing Yogita but the Malaysian forward misdirected her gentle push even after getting the better of the Indian custodian to trail by a goal at the half-way stage.
The Malaysians started on a bright note after the change of ends and earned their second penalty corner but an alert Yogita at the Indian goal averted that threat.
The Indians added salt to Malaysia`s wound when an unmarked Vandana scored her second goal of the match in the 38th minute from the ensuing attack after receiving a measured pass from Anupa Barla.
Thereafter, it was all about keeping ball possession for the Indians, while the Malaysians had no other option but to go for attack.
But India took the match beyond Malaysia`s grip when Rani Rampal scored from goal-mouth melee in the 65th minute after cashing on a miss pass.
After a rest day, the Indians will next play minnows Fiji on Thursday.
Malaysia, who defeated Russia 3-1 in their tournament opener, will have to get over the defeat quickly as they take on Kazakhstan in their next match the same day.
Meanwhile, in earlier matches of the day in the women`s competition, Russia spanked Fiji 9-0, while top-ranked Japan demolished Kazakhstan 11-0.
Even though India got three points from the game, but chief coach Neil Hawgood wasn`t satisfied with his wards performance today.
"We got three points from the game but I am very disappointed with our performance. We didn`t play well at well. We played our worst hockey in the last six months," Hawgood said after the match.
"Malaysia is a good team so it was important to win against them today in the context of the tournament. There are a plenty of areas to work on ahead of the remaining matches of the tournament," he added.
We're building him (RvP) up now because of the World Cup. It’s a pity but we have to or he’ll never be fit.
Louis van Gaal