A fracas broke out between the Malaysian and Spanish players in the Group A match at The Hague on Monday. Malaysia lost 2-5 for their fifth defeat of the World Cup campaign. - SS KANESAN/ The Star
THE HAGUE: It was another tale of missed chances and unforced errors as Malaysia went down for the fifth straight time in the hockey World Cup here.
The Malaysians finished bottom of Group A after going down 2-5 to Spain on Monday and with it their hopes of a top-10 finish. K. Dhamaraj’s team will now play in the 11th-12th placing playoff.
Like in their earlier matches, the Malaysians were pathetic. They lost possession easily and made it easy for the Spaniards to attack. It came as no surprise that Dharmaraj was frustrated with the team’s performance.
“There was better movement compared to the game against India (Malaysia lost 3-2). But the result remains the same.
“We gave away the ball too cheaply and we failed to make the chances count.
“Spain were a shade better than us, but I believe we could have performed better,” lamented Dharmaraj.
Once again, goalkeeper S. Kumar’s heroics kept the score down for the Malaysians.
Spain started off strongly and grabbed the lead after only 13 minutes when Gabriel Dabanch scored off a penalty corner rebound.
The Malaysians then put together some good moves and managed to draw level in the 24th minute. Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin slotted home from close range after a quick counter-attack.
In the 30th minute, there was a scuffle between players from both sides with Faizal Saari the target of the Spanish players.
David Alegre and Faizal were yellow carded and sent to the sin bin.
Both sides were playing with 10 men but Malaysia had another man down in the 33rd minute when Mohamed Razie Rahim got himself green carded.
Spain took advantage to score their second goal with Marc Salles beating Kumar from the top of the D.
Two minutes into the second half, Santi Freixa made it 3-1. And Dabanch put his name on the scoresheet again in the 46th minute for Spain’s fourth goal. In the 51st minute, Malaysia managed to reduce the deficit when Fitri Saari easily converted a penalty stroke.
The Malaysians had several more chances, but failed to make them count. A minute before full-time, Sergi Enrique made it 5-2 for Spain who finished fourth in the group and will play in the seventh-eighth placing playoff.