Asian Champions Trophy – The Hindu

Cock-a-hoop: The Indian players are a happy bunch after blanking Malaysia 5-0.

Cock-a-hoop: The Indian players are a happy bunch after blanking Malaysia 5-0.

India put up a much better performance for a convincing 5-0 victory over Malaysia in its second outing at the Jharkand Women’s Asian Champions Trophy hockey here on Saturday.

Even though penalty corner conversions continued to be a drag on the team’s overall performance, the Indian side was far more cohesive and sharp in the field than on Friday and it showed in the body language as well.

The Indians were confident, the trapping was clean and there was more purpose to the attack, all brought together by the brilliance of player-of-the-match Vandana Katariya who struck two goals of her own and created the space and opportunities for more.

India started on a much stronger footing, earning back-to-back penalty corners in the sixth and seventh minutes, Vandana deflecting in the latter from the left for an early lead.

She made it 2-0 in a similar fashion, this time positioned on the right just in front of the far post in the 21st minute.

Two goals within a minute — local favourites Salima Tete and Sangita Kumari combined for a brilliant third and Lalremsiami made it 4-0 — meant India went into half time sitting pretty on top.

Malaysia, which stuck to a defensive game hoping for counter-attacking opportunities, found it impossible to break the Indian shackles or match the host’s pace.

The second half was a comparatively sedate affair and despite controlling the game, dictating the pace and earning a series of penalty corners, India was able to add only one more to its tally, something coach Janneke Schopman admitted “was annoying”. But with the two lower-ranked sides out of the way, the real test for India in the tournament begins now.

Hat-trick by China’s Zhong

In other games, Japan recovered from a listless performance on Friday for a dominating 4-0 win over Korea while Asian Games champion China rode on a hat-trick by Jiaqi Zhong to register a comprehensive 6-0 victory against Thailand.

The results:

Japan 4 (Aimi Kobayashi, Yuri Nagai, Miyu Hasegawa, Mai Toriyama) bt Korea 0.

China 6 (Jiaqi Zhong 3, Ning Ma, Zixia Ou, Wen Dan) bt Thailand 0.

India 5 (Vandana Katariya 2, Sangita Kumari, Lalremsiami, Jyoti) bt Malaysia 0.

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