Malaysia goalkeeper S. Kumar tries to foil England's Tom Carson from scoring during their World Cup Group A match at The Hague on Thursday. Malaysia lost 0-2 for their third straight defeat. - AFP
THE HAGUE: Three matches. Three defeats. That’s Malaysia’s record in Group A of the hockey World Cup in The Hague, Holland.
On Thursday, Malaysia went down 2-0 to an England side they had high hopes of defeating.
Instead, it was the Englishmen who struck on either side of each half through Mark Gleghorne in the fourth minute and Ashley Jackson in the 66th minute.
The winless Malaysians will now look at India and Spain to get the points and keep alive their 10th-placing target.
Malaysia, who had earlier lost to Australia 4-0 and Belgium 6-2, suffered another blow when forward Hafifihafiz Hanafi was injured after being accidentally kicked in the face by England goalkeeper George Pinner.
Hafifihafiz was chasing the ball in the D when he collided with a defender and was then kicked in the face by Pinner. Hafifihafiz was stretchered out and taken to hospital.
Despite the loss to England, coach K. Dharmaraj was still pleased with their performance.
“We need to make better use of the chances we get. Defensively, there were some mistakes but overall it was a much better effort. We didn’t win but I’m pleased with the attitude shown in the match. They have to keep improving,” he said.
The match got off to a wet start as the skies opened up just for the game and before the players could even warm up properly, the Malaysians found themselves one goal down.
That came in the fourth minute. England took a quick free hit at the 25-yard line and, before the defenders could react, the ball reached Gleghorne in the D.
The forward easily slotted a reverse flick past goalkeeper S. Kumar.
England continued to dominate as Malaysia allowed them too much space and possession.
There was a slight improvement in the Malaysian attack after the break, although they were again guilty of individual play.
Faizal Saari, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Mohd Firhan Azhaari and Ismail Abu had chances but they overdid it with their dribbles.
Malaysia had two chances to pull a goal back when they were awarded penalty corners in the 63rd and 64th minutes. Unfortunately, England goalkeeper Pinner was up to the task on both occasions.
Then, two minutes later, England struck the killer blow off their third penalty corner as Ashley Jackson’s drag flick beat Kumar all the way.
England now have seven points and are still in the running for the semi-finals.