KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia did just enough to beat hosts Bangladesh 3-0 to get their World Hockey League Round Two Group A campaign off to a winning start at the Moulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium in Dhaka.
The top-seeded Malaysians got their goals through Mohd Marhan Mohd Jalil (fifth minute), Mohd Razie Rahim (19th) and Nik Aiman Nik Rozemi (54th).
Malaysia have now won 13 and drawn one in 14 clashes against Bangladesh.
National coach Stephen van Huizen, however, admitted that his men could have played better.
He also said that the objective after they took a two-goal lead was to keep the opponents from scoring.
“When we were 2-0 up at half-time, I told them to settle down and not let Bangladesh score as it would restore their confidence and make them much harder to beat.
“Anyway, we came here to win all our matches ... and not to score dozens of goals in every match,” he said.
Bangladesh coach Oliver Kurts admitted that “we did not expect to beat Malaysia”.
“We knew their strength ... but played better than expected. We are looking for full points from our next matches to finish second in the group,” said the German.
World No. 13 Malaysia will take on world No. 31 Oman in their second group match today.
Oman hammered Fiji 7-0 in their opening game.
Stephen agreed that his players will have to show an improved performance against Oman.
“If you ask my coaching staff and the players, they will surely tell you that the performance against Bangladesh was way below par ... that we did just enough,” said Stephen.
“Bangladesh played open hockey, but we missed a handful of sitters and that made them more confident. That’s something we cannot do in our next two matches.”
Stephen said that they go for early goals against Oman.
Malaysia have a good record against Oman – having won all 11 clashes.
The teams last met in the World Hockey League Round Two in Singapore in 2015 and Malaysia won 7-0.