MALAYSIA lost 4-2 to Belgium on Thursday, and are now firmly rooted at the bottom of the 17th Azlan Shah Cup standings.
And if they remain there after their last pool match against India tomorrow, there will be no need for a play-off, as the lowest is among the fifth and sixth only.
The hosts were forced to defend from the whistle, as Belgium inserted great pressure and goalkeeper S. Kumar had to bring out a few heroic saves.
But the inevitable finally happened in the 20th minute, when Charles Vandeweghe gave his team the lead with a rebound goal.
Malaysia went on the offensive after that, and played some great hockey before sounding the board for the equaliser in the 24th minute.
Amin Rahim’s low flick gave a cracking sound as it crashed onto the board, and Malaysia went into the breather on equal terms with Belgium.
But the second half turned into a nightmare, as Malaysia kept on missing sitters while Vandeweghe scored his brace in the 43rd.
Malaysians equalised at 2-2 in the 46th minute when Amin Rahim scored again, but the Belgians walked away with full points with strikes from Jerome Dekeyser (52nd) and Thomas Briels (69th).
(By Jugjet Singh)