While not surprised by Panama's physical approach, Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said the World Cup debutants committed unnecessary tackles during Monday's Group G encounter.
Belgium opened their campaign with a 3-0 victory thanks to Romelu Lukaku's brace and Dries Mertens' stunner in Sochi, though they were made to work for it by newcomers Panama at Fisht Stadium.
There were robust challenges flying in from Hernan Dario Gomez's side, especially in the first half – Belgium captain and superstar Eden Hazard bearing the brunt of the rough treatment.
Hazard's left leg was strapped post-match, though the attacker played it off when talking to reporters.
When Courtois was asked about Panama's tactics, which resulted in five yellow cards, he said: "We knew they are aggressive. They give unnecessary kicks. I think the referee gave enough yellows. I think even sometimes he could let the play go on a bit more. I guess he knew he had to stop it quickly.
"It's football. There's contact and tackles. But if it's cheap tackles that can hurt then officials have to be careful and act.
"But it's a contact sport. You can always be late and its part of football. But when it's unnecessary and cheap then maybe [there could be more protection]."
Courtois continued: "You want beautiful football with the best players on the pitch. It would be sad that players get kicked off.
"Maybe sometimes they were late but this was because they were so fast. There wasn't so many cheap shots or dirty tackles. It's part of football."
Belgium were without regular skipper Vincent Kompany due to injury, though the Manchester City defender remains on track to appear in the group phase.
Dedryck Boyata deputised in a defence that also included Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, and Courtois was happy with what he saw.
"I think it worked out. The players have known each other for years. I think we did well," the keeper said. "Obviously there are tough games and World Cups are never perfect. We held on well and took our chances."
22. November 2018
|I should have faced Mourinho – Casillas rues Real Madrid fall-out|
|Kubica handed Williams drive for 2019|
|Hansen rings the changes for Italy clash|
|Zabaleta: West Ham need Nasri´s quality|
|Atletico Madrid v Barcelona: 2018-19 signings compared|
|Guardiola can repeat Barcelona success at Man City - Xavi|
|Harris not worried about previous Langer criticism|
|Blazers routed by Bucks, Warriors lose again|
|Nowitzki looking at December return after long recovery from ankle surgery|
|Australia, England and South Korea share World Cup of Golf lead|
|Warm welcome from Cavs ´means a lot´ to LeBron|
|LeBron helps Lakers past Cavs in Cleveland return|
|Guardiola: Premier League has improved me as a manager|
|WATCH: Cavs´ tribute video for LeBron does him justice in return to Cleveland|
|Harris, Tremain earn Australia Test spots|
|Mourinho would´ve won titles at Man City – Drogba|
|Cowboys WR Gallup set to play on Thursday after death of brother|
|Sutton re-signs with Rabbitohs for 2019|
|Chelsea legend Drogba confirms retirement at 40|
|England on track to be the world´s best in Tests - Root|
|Aubameyang ´trying to get fit´ for Bournemouth clash|
21. November 2018
|Tenerife streak halted by PAOK as Bologna roll on|
|FIFA president Infantino pledges best ever World Cup in Qatar|
|India favourites after ´one of the worst years´ for Australia - Warne|
|Klaassen: Impossible to compare me to Kroos, Xavi|
|Guardiola eyeing future international job|
|Trubisky doubtful for Bears´ Thanksgiving game|
|O´Neill planning ´next adventure´ after leaving Republic of Ireland|
|Premier League: Brexit should not be used to weaken squads|
|16 balls, 14 boundaries, 74 runs - Shahzad steals show in T10 opener|
|WATCH: Patrice Evra plays with poultry in bizarre Thanksgiving message|
|Packers star Rodgers pledges $1m to California wildfire relief|
|Klitschko worried for boxing´s Olympic future|
|Lewandowski back in Bayern training as Davies joins new team-mates|
|Hogg fit for much-changed Scotland|
|Former Arsenal striker Bendtner faces 50 days in prison over taxi driver assault|
|Athletic extend Muniain contract to 2024|
|Kohli ready to move on after narrow defeat|
|PSG to wait for Neymar, Mbappe injury updates|
|Icardi hopeful of Messi return for Copa America|
|Cavs star Love expects to be out until 2019|
|Ricciardo terrified by Renault switch|
|Under-fire Taylor calls for PFA structure review|
|McLaren reveal one-off livery for Alonso´s last race|
|Samir Nasri training with West Ham amid reports of free transfer|
|Guardiola warned over derby clash comments|
|Stoinis sees Australia to T20 win against India|
|Modric not deserving of Ballon d´Or – Cavani|
|F1 Raceweek: Alonso ends on 312 races, Raikkonen a Ferrari great - Abu Dhabi GP in numbers|
|Neymar made a mistake leaving Barcelona for PSG, insists Edmilson|
|O´Neill and Keane leave Republic of Ireland after relegation|
|WATCH: Maxwell hits Spidercam with sliced shot in Australia-India T20|
|Rafinha wants Barca exit due to ´crazy´ Valverde selections – Mazinho|
|France to wear rainbow laces in support of Thomas following attack|
|You need to stop this – Cavani slams media over supposed Neymar feud|
|Anderson rested for final Test|
|Tite applauds Seedorf for Cameroon´s style of play|
|Griezmann not obsessed with Ballon d´Or|
|Neymar feels injury is ´nothing serious´|
|Durant says Green altercation won´t impact his free agency|
|Morris blasts drama surrounding Wizards: It´s messed up|
|Scaloni thrilled for Dybala, Icardi|
|Green´s last-second shot keeps Raptors atop East standings|
|Deschamps praises Griezmann for Giroud gesture|
|Warriors star Curry improving, still out at least three more games|
|Chile 4 Honduras 1: Sanchez, Vidal shine for La Roja|
|Argentina 2 Mexico 0: Icardi, Dybala score first international goals|
|Mickelson calls Tiger the greatest of all time|
|Durant fined $25,000 for using inappropriate language|
|Fizdale isn´t concerned about Knicks´ losing streak|