GLASGOW: Malaysia parked the bus but still could not stop defending champions Australia from romping to a 4-0 win in their opening women’s Group B hockey match.
Malaysia can thank goalkeeper Farah Ayuni Yahya for playing brilliantly between the posts to keep the scoreline down to a respectable margin at the Glasgow National Hockey Stadium on Thursday.
After all, this is the girl who admitted to having the jitters about facing Australia again – having conceded nine goals the last time the two teams met in the International Super Series nine-a-side tournament in Perth last October.
Australia, who finished runners-up in last month's World Cup in The Hague, went on the offensive from the start and drew first blood in the seventh minute off their first penalty corner, with Jodie Kenny’s high drag flick sailing past Farah.
Australia added two more goals in the space of 10 minutes – through Kellie White (20th minute) and Georgina Parker (30th).
Australia, who are gunning for their third gold medal in the Commonwealth Games, continued to pile on the pressure after the break but only managed to beat the excellent Farah one more time.
That came in the 49th minute when Parker collected a loose ball in the semi-circle before letting fly from the top D with a reverse stick attempt.
Malaysia created only two chances in each half but to no avail.
National coach Mohd Nasihin Nubli was clearly pleased with Farah’s performance.
“We could have lost by a bigger margin if not for her. Our defence looked shaky and gave the Aussies too much room to move,” said Nasihin.
“The defenders must learn to play with confidence and mark the players betters.
“The forwards also need to be sharper in the semi-circles … they wasted two chances in the match.
“I hope we can play much better against Scotland tomorrow.”
Malaysia are ranked 21st in the world while Scotland are ranked No. 16.