Wednesday, November 4, 2009


Malaysia narrowly missed making the semifinals of the Seventh Asia Cup women's hockey tournament here after a hard-fought 1-1 draw with India in their last Group A match.

Prior to tonight's encounter, the team coached by Yahya Atan had six points after three matches in their group where they had lost 0-4 to China before beating Singapore 4-0 and Thailand 3-0.

They needed to beat India tonight to book a place in the last four as their rivals went into the match with seven points from their 1-1 draw with China, 13-0 win over Singapore and 15-0 win over Thailand.

Malaysia, ranked 24th in the world, started well and even stunned the Indians with an opening goal in the third minute of the match when Juliani Mohd Din tapped in from a penalty corner set piece.

The 14th ranked and more skillful Indians mounted endless attacks against Malaysia, but goalkeeper Farahayuni Atan and the defence played extremely well to keep their opponents at bay.

However, the Indians managed to level the score in the 28th minute through Benita Kapoor's goal.

Yahya said his charges played well with high fighting spirit.

"I am proud of the players. They played according to our strategy and were not scared of their opponents," he said.

Malaysia will now face Hong Kong in the fifth to eight placing playoff.

The winner of the Asia Cup are guaranteed a spot in the 2010 World Cup in Argentina. Asian Hockey Federation president Sultan Azlan Shah watched the match.