World Cup Qualifiers (day two)
Javiera Villagra’s second half penalty stroke enabled Chile to bounce back from their opening day defeat to Australia as they put Malaysia on the back foot with a 1-0 win on a gloomy afternoon in Santiago.
The home team’s skipper was the stand-out player in a low quality affair which yielded few chances in front of a small crowd – especially in comparison to Saturday’s fixture which had in excess of 2,000 spectators – due to a last minute rescheduling.
The fixture was brought forward by a day while Ireland’s fixtures on Wednesday and Thursday have been changed to 12pm starts from 3.30pm and 1.30pm, respectively (more on which to appear on the Hook tomorrow), as the FIH continue to scramble with the match schedule.
A low-key first half, littered with individual errors and plenty of his-passes going skyward or over the end-line, saw Malaysia slightly on top, showing some neat stickwork and earned the only corner of the half.
It was indicative of the play, though, with the ball pushed wide of the goal, behind the intended target for a deflection.
The second half was livelier. Chile, despite two yellow cards, upped the ante to earn three corners in quick succession while Daniela Caram and Manuella Urroz caused plenty of problems with their long stride up front.
The former was adjudged to be taken out following a left-wing burst by Malaysian keeper Farah Ayuni Yahya and Villagra, the impressive right midfielder, calmly sent Yahya the wrong way from the spot.
Siti Rahmah Othman almost levelled matters with the Asian side’s only attack of the second half, controlling an 80-metre hopeful punt on the circle’s edge, but she was unlucky to clatter the inside of the post with a well-struck shot that had beaten Claudia Schuller.
World Cup Qualifiers – day two Chile 1 (Javiera Villagra) Malaysia 0
Upcoming Match Schedule:
Tuesday, April 27 - rest day
Wednesday, April 28 - Ireland vs Malaysia, 12pm (5pm Irish time)
For the full, revised schedule (correct as of April 27, 1am Irish time) click here