Tuesday, 3 June 2014 | MYT 1:05 AM
Hockey: Malaysia whipped 6-2 by Belgium (updated)
THE HAGUE: Malaysia’s inexperience stood out like a sore thumb in the 6-2 loss to Belgium in their second Group A match at the Kyocera Stadium.
The Malaysians as usual started off well and even held the lead twice through Mohamed Razie Rahim in the fifth and 19th minutes on Monday.
But a hat-trick by Tom Boon in the first half (14th, 23rd, 31st) was enough to put the Red Lions back on top and then they smashed the Malaysians’ dream with another three goals in the second half.
The second-half goals came from Tanguy Cosyns (37th), Boon (45th) and John-John Dohmen (56th).
Malaysian coach K. Dharmaraj said that the inconsistency of the umpiring, especially the video referrals, had confused the players and they were afraid to appeal.
There were two instances where the Malaysians had their referrals upheld. One of which was a goal initially given to the Belgians.
Apart from this, the Malaysians really need to re-look at the way they play and how to sustain their good start.
It has been said time and again that they lack consistency, but on Monday they also looked like novices.
“We did have a good first half but once they got the third goal we were well beaten. The players tried but we could not stop them coming at us. It is a good lesson but we have to admit that the Belgians were a far stronger team and played very well,” said Dharmaraj.
In Boon, the Belgium team have a world-class striker as well as a top-notch drag flicker.
But the one aspect of the Belgian game that the Malaysians could not handle was their speed and ability to attack and defend in numbers.
Skipper Azlan Misron said the Belgians hardly gave his team a chance to regroup.
“Their speed was simply awesome and we had a lot of trouble stopping them.
“We were determined to improve on our play from the Australian game and the two early goals gave us hope.
“But all that went to waste in the second half. We have to recover from this and get ready for the next match,” he said.
Malaysia have a two-day break before their next match against England on Thursday.
England have already won twice. On Monday, they defeated India 2-1, with the winner coming two minutes before the final whistle.
Dharmaraj said that the team will review their two matches and try to find a solution.
“We had always said that we would face the two strongest teams in our group matches and that getting a point off them was going to be tough.
“But with three more matches to go, we have to get a result that will help us with the 10th place target.
“There are three teams in the group who have yet to win. That includes us, Spain and India, whom we have yet to play.
“We will remain optimistic. For me, as long as the players learn from each match and improve, then we are moving forward.
“The team are playing at this level for the first time and it is a new experience. They have a lot of potential,” he said.