KUALA LUMPUR: The national women’s hockey failed to score a point in their Group A opening match of the 2019 FIH Women’s Series Finals in Banbridge, Northern Ireland, Saturday.
The Malaysian Tigress, ranked 22 in the world, lost 1-2 to the host and the 2018 World Cup runners-up, Ireland, at the Banbridge Hockey Club.
The national women squad had to face a gruelling battle against the world’s number eight team and was shocked when the Irish opened the scoring on the fourth minute through Bethany Barr who converted a penalty corner.
After the breather, the Malaysian Tigress under the guidance of Muhammad Dhaarma Raj Abdullah, once again conceding a goal when Kathryn Mullan blasted her field goal in the 39th minute.
However, Siti Zulaikha Hussin manages to narrow the gaps when she scored the sole goal for Malaysia just five minutes before the final whistle was blown.
For the record, since 2008, Malaysia lost in all four meetings with Ireland and at their last meeting in Women’s World Hockey League Final (WHWL) finals in Kuala Lumpur in 2017, Malaysia lost 0-3 to Ireland.
This tournament is an important mission for the national women’s hockey team in their hunts for a ticket to the final round of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics qualifier and they should step into the tournament’s final stage in order to get one of the two tickets offered through this tournament.
Malaysia next assignment will be against Singapore, scheduled for midnight tomorrow and the Czech Republic on June 11 at 7 pm (Malaysian time).