New Delhi, 14 March 2015: In the first game of the day of the Hero FIH Hockey World League Round 2 (Women), Kazakhstan women defeated Singapore eves 2-1 to register a win to their name. It was a close game at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi as Singapore played at their best and gave a tough challenge to Kazakhstan before going down to them.
The first quarter began with Kazakhstan trying to build pressure on the opponent as they managed an early penalty corner for their side. Gulnara Imangaliyeva took the strike but failed to convert it into a goal. With maximum ball possession throughout the quarter, Kazakhstan put in a number of efforts to breach the Singapore defence and in the concluding minute Olga Khonina, finally managed to reach the net and scored the first goal of the game. The score at the end of first quarter was 1-0 with Kazakhstan in the lead.
In the second quarter, Singapore women made a brilliant comeback when their Skipper Xinni Chua faultlessly converted a penalty corner awarded to her team in the 22nd minute. This was also the first goal for Singapore women in the ongoing League. Subsequently, Kazakhstan was given a couple of penalty corners but due to some superb defence from the opposite team, failed to capitalize the opportunity. The half time score was a levelled 1-1.
Singapore women took a command on the game in the third quarter as they looked out for prospects to sneak in goals. Kazakhstan struggled to find breaks in order to score as they missed a couple of penalty corners in the quarter. In the 42nd minute, they again received a penalty corner as Gulnara Imangaliyeva again took the strike and this time, without any mistakes, converted it into a goal to hand over her team a lead of 2-1 before the closure of third quarter.
The final quarter of the match witnessed Singapore women trying their best to score an equaliser. Kazakhstan women again failed to materialise two penalty corners in the last quarter. Though Singapore staged a brilliant game in the last two quarters, it was too late for them to make a comeback in the game. The quarter remained goal-less. At the blow of the final whistle, the scoreboard showed a score of 2-1 as Kazakhstan outplayed Singapore.
Speaking on the match, Coach of Singapore Ahmad Marfi said, “There were small errors which cost us the game but the team did really well as the defence. We have played against Kazakhstan 5-6 times before and lost all the matches. This match today was the closest in terms of goal margin. It is considerable a good improvement by the team. This tournament will be our benchmark for the future and I am happy with the team’s overall performance in the League till now.”
Ecstatic on today’s win, Kazakhstan player Gulnara Imangaliyeva said, “It was a very tough match today as we have been playing back to back matches for the past few days. Most of our players are young and today they were feeling tired. Thanks to the good weather today that helped us to perform as per our expectations. Though we are not happy with our run in this tournament but it’s a decent way to finish this League.”