Published: Friday December 20, 2013 MYT 5:38:00 PM
Updated: Friday December 20, 2013 MYT 7:32:53 PM

Hockey girls deliver gold as expected (updated)

The jubilant Malaysian women's hockey team after beating Thailand 6-1 to win the gold at the SEA Games on Dec 20, 2013. - Bernama Photo

The jubilant Malaysian women's hockey team after beating Thailand 6-1 to win the gold at the SEA Games on Dec 20, 2013. - Bernama Photo

YANGON: As expected, the free-scoring Malaysian women’s hockey team defended their SEA Games gold medal with an emphatic 6-1 victory over Thailand at the Thein Phyu Hockey Stadium here.

Since the start of the competition in Myanmar, there was never any doubt of Malaysia bagging both the hockey gold medals on offer, and the women did not disappoint on Friday.

Unlike in their 6-0 preliminary round victory over Thailand on Tuesday when they failed to convert any of their seven first-half penalty corners, the Malaysians made it count at the first time of asking in the final.

Only four minutes of play had gone by when Nuraini Abdul Rashid made solid contact to sweep the ball past Thailand goalkeeper Tongsun Jesdaporn to hand Malaysia the lead.

To their credit, Thailand defended stoutly, with Tongsun playing a vital role to keep the marauding Malaysians at bay. But she could not prevent Juliana Mohd Din from doubling Malaysia’s lead in the 28th minute from another penalty corner.

Mohd Nasihin Nubli Ibrahim’s players managed to find more cracks in the Thai defence in the second period, with captain Nadia Abdul Rahman scoring the third goal three minutes after the break.

Two goals in as many minutes from Raja Norshahabudin (52nd) and Nurul Nabila Mansur (53rd) extinguished whatever faint hopes Thailand had of staging a fightback.

Fazilah Silin rounded off Malaysia’s scoring with the sixth goal three minutes from the end. In their haste to run down the clock, the Malaysian players conceded a soft penalty corner just before the final horn. Rintgam Sukanya scored for Thailand with the final hit of the match, but it proved to be nothing more than a consolation goal as the Malaysian players began their celebrations.

“Our game plan was to score an early goal because we knew that Thailand would throw everybody into their defence to frustrate us. Nuraini’s opening goal in the fourth minute shifted the pressure from Malaysia to Thailand and we were able to play comfortably for the remainder of the match,” said Nasihin.

“We worked on our short corner variations prior to the final because Thailand were literally throwing their bodies on the ground to block our attempts when we played them earlier (in the preliminary round). I am happy that our variations worked as we got the first two goals from penalty corners.”

En route to the gold medal, the Malaysian women had scored 72 goals and conceded just two in six matches. The run included the now famous world hockey record 36-0 defeat inflicted on a hapless Cambodia.

On Friday’s win was Malaysia’s first hockey gold since the Korat Games in 2007. Hockey was not contested in Laos 2009 and Palembang 2011.

Added the former international: “Our next major assignments are the Commonwealth and Asian Games next year. We also have the Germany, South Korea and Japan senior teams coming to Kuala Lumpur to play a four nation tournament. It is going to be busy next year and this SEA Games victory will put us in the right frame of mind to face 2014.”

Hosts Myanmar secured the bronze medal with a 1-0 upset victory over Singapore in the third-place playoff.

The Malaysian men will be in action on Saturday to keep their half of the promise to deliver a hockey double for Malaysia when they take on Singapore in the men’s final.

Tags / Keywords: hockey, women, SEA Games, Malaysia, Myanmar, Naypyitaw, Yangon


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