In a day of upsets the Malaysian women’s hockey team stunned world number 11 China with a 2-2 draw in the Group A match at the GBK Hockey Stadium in the Asian Games.
It was the first time the 22 ranked Malaysians had taken a point off the Chinese in an international tournament. Earlier in the day Asiad debutants, Indonesia upset Kazakhstan 2-1 and this was followed by Hong Kong’s 3-2 defeat at the hand of Chinese Taipei.
Malaysian were trailing by a goal in the ninth minute, but Hanis Nadiah Onn turned the tables and scored two goals to give Malaysia the lead.
But in the 49th minute defensive lapse on the part of the Malaysians allowed the Chinese to earn a draw.
Malaysian coach Muhammad Dharmaraj Abdullah was visibly disappointed with the draw although it was an achievement for the team.
“We were that close to winning this match. I told the players to stop them from pumping the ball into the D. Their equaliser came from such a move.
“Still I will agree that this was a huge result for us. It keeps in contention for a semis berth. Now we have two matches to book the last four place.
“We need to focus on the next match with Chinese Taipei first before looking any further,” he said.
Hanis was excited with her two goals.
“It would have been great had we won. But still, this is a very good result for the team. We will have greater confidence going into the next matches, “she said.
China finally opened their scoring in the ninth minute with a field from Liang Meiyu after a quick counter-attack.
Two minutes into the second half the Malaysians struck. The 21-year-old forward Hanis Nadiah Onn broke through and managed to slot home past China goalkeeper Jiao Ye. She has 61 international caps and it was her second goal of the tournament.
In the 44th minute, the Malaysians took the lead. Again, it was the youngster Hanis Nadiah who broke through to score the field goal. The Malaysians slowly gained control of the match as the Chinese kept missing their shots.
In the 49th minute the Chinese counterattacked, and Gu Bing Feng managed to trap the ball in the D and score.
The Malaysians had three penalty corners in the 55th minute but all three were foiled by the Chinese.
China coach Jamilon Mulders said that the draw was well deserved by both teams.
“Both teams played their hearts out but lacked the extra to get a winner. I have said before that the Malaysians are a good side, but they are grossly underrated even at home.
“You can see that they play good hockey and credit to them for making a good match of the game. It was worth watching and we had two teams fighting hard for every ball,” he said.