Hero Hockey World League Round Two 2013, women’s day five round-up
Russia – India 0-1 (half-time: 0-0)
Rani saved her best for last as she fired home the only goal of India’s win over Russia, a goal that saw her side claim top spot from the women’s Hero Hockey World League Round Two 2013 in Delhi.
It was a thing of beauty, jinking away from two defenders to find daylight in a packed circle and smashing through the otherwise impenetrable defences of Russia goalkeeper Oxana Serezhkina. It came in the 51st minute after India had peppered the Russian goal but found the route through incredibly tough to find.
In the first half, Jaspreet Kaur drew a superb save from a penalty corner won 75 seconds in and the likes of Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Rani and Anupa Barla also saw their shots batted away. Olesya Petrova had to take one off the line, too, amid a melee. In response, Russia sporadically threatened, winning a couple of corners late in the second half to show they still carried an interest in the tie. Rani, though, eventually sealed their nerves 19 minutes from the end and she went close to extending the lead soon after.
Again, Russia had intentions of spoiling the party with Maria Nikitina’s sliding shot skipping by the far post while Yogita Bali did brilliantly to block Ekaterina Shaburova’s shot. But India deservedly held on to move up to 13 points, tied with Japan but took the title by virtue of having won mores games.
And they also landed the major tournament prizes. Rani was the top-scorer with seven to her name while Jaspreet Kaur was the overall best defender and player of the week. Fiji’s Susan Mudunatagi was honoured as goalkeeper of the tournament while Japanese veteran Sachimi Iwao was top midfielder and Malaysia’s Siti Rahmah Othman the best attacker.
Japan – Malaysia 4-0 (half-time: 1-0)
Japan became the first side to progress from the women’s Hero Hockey World League Round Two 2013 group in Delhi to round three as they saw off main rivals Malaysia with a tenacious performance. Despite a dominant first half, they were only 1-0 up at the break as Ayaka Nishimura finished into an open net as the Malaysian defence stopped, expecting a free out to be given. But the Japanese striker remained alert and player on for a 29th minute lead.
Earlier, they were only denied a first goal from a cracking move by Noor Hasliza Md Ali’s last gasp intervention in the third minute while Farah Ayuni Yahya made a string of fine saves. But their resistence after a couple of defensive injuries was weakened in the second half and Japan broke through again in the 45th minute, Kumi Banda’s swept corner turned in by Aki Mitsuhashi. Akiko Kato scrambled in the next goal soon after and the tie was fully confirmed 15 minutes from the end when Aya Ueda was on the mark.
It was a special way to celebrate the 200th cap for Miyuki Nakagawa as Japan kept alive their hopes of making it to the 2014 World Cup.
Kazakhstan – Fiji 4-0 (half-time: 2-0)
Kazakhstan finished their women’s Hero Hockey World League Round Two 2013 campaign with a flourish, claiming their first win as they saw off Fiji 4-0, finishing fifth in the competition. Vera Domashneva was the architect-in-chief, scoring twice while being a constant thorn in the attack. Natalya Gataulina put the Kazakhs 1-0 up inside five minutes from the penalty spot before Domashneva swept in from the right hand side just moments after her side had been reduced to ten players.
The third came in the 48th minute, again from Domashneva before, with Fiji pushing on for their first goal of the tournament, Gulnara Imangaliyeva closed out the tie seven minutes from the end with a cool finish.
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