Thursday, June 5, 2014
MALAYSIA had the chance to salvage their World Cup campaign, but played scrappy hockey to hand England full points as they went down 2-0 at the Hague, Netherlands yesterday.
It was their third straight defeat, after being hammered 4-0 by Australia, and 6-2 by Belgium.
Their only remaining encounters in Group A are against India and Spain.
England also played in patches, but were lucky to take the lead in the fifth minute, when the entire defense stood rooted and Mark Gleghorne had all the time to beat goalkeeper S. Kumar with a reverse stick flick.
For the record, Kumar was the best Malaysian player yet again, as he brought off eight point-blank shots in 70 minutes and received accolades online via the England Hockey and International Hockey Federation tweets.
The match statistics provided by the FIH was damning as Malaysia only had one shot on target, while England had eight and scored two.
All three Malaysian penalty corners also went to waste, while England scored one off their three. Another damning stat was that England was 88 per cent efficient, while Malaysia were a low 33 per cent.
And while Malaysia again played erratic hockey in the last 10 minutes of the match, when they should be looking for the equaliser, Ashley Jackson’s 67th minute goal sealed their points for good.
England, World No 4, now have seven points from three matches as they held Spain 1-1 and beat India 2-1 earlier.
Malaysia are left with the task of beating India and then Spain, if they don’t want to end at the bottom of the pool.
Coach K. Dharmaraj’s men have let in 12 goals, and only scored two -- indicating that the defenders have been sleeping on the job.
“It was another tough game, and letting in so many goals after three matches is demoralising, but I always look at the bright side.
“I believe we will not disappoint in the remaining matches,” said Kumar, whose heroics in all three games saved at least another 15 goals from being scored against Malaysia.
MALAYSIA’S World Cup Fixtures (Malaysian time) -- June 7: v India (8.30pm); June 9: v Spain (8.30pm).