MALAYSIA again played a game of two halves, and they were duly hammered 5-2 by Argentina in their last Group B match of the Champions Challenge I in South Africa yesterday.
This time, they played a super game in the first 35 minutes to take a 1-0 lead, but fell asleep in the second half and let in five simple goals to give Argentina the top spot in the group, while Malaysia ended last.
Coach Tai Beng Hai's men will now either play India, Belgium or South Africa in the quarter-finals on Thursday.
Malaysia played better than their opening two games, but only for 35 minutes, as there was more urgency upfront, than defending in their own circle.
The combination of Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Hafifi Hafiz and Faizal Saari upfront troubled the Argentina goalkeeper, but Malaysia only had one goal to show at the half-time buzzer.
And that goal was scored by attacking midfielder Azlan Misron in the 15th minute off a goalmouth melee.
Malaysia had five penalty corners in the first half, but failed to score as they relied on direct flicks from Amin Rahim.
Argentina had 10 shots at goal, but goalkeeper S. Kumar made sure none went in.
After the breather, Hafifi could have made it 2-0 in the 38th minute, but after receiving a brilliant pass from Faizal, he slammed the ball straight into the Argentina goalkeeper Juan Vivaldi's pads.
However, a minute's lack in concentration saw Argentina win a penalty corner in the 44th minute, and this time, Pedro Ibarra makes no mistake and rattles the back board for the equaliser.
Argentina then took control of the match and scored at will off Manuel Brunet in the 52nd, Rodrigo Vila in the 53rd, and Manuel Brunet again in the 58th.
Amin Rahim closed the gap to 2-4 with a 64th minute penalty corner attempt, but just seconds from the full-time buzzer, Argentina scored their fifth goal off Pedro Ibarra.
Malaysia ended last in Group B, and will now play the champions of Group A in the quarter-finals on Thursday.
RESULTS: Group B: Canada 1 Japan 2, Malaysia 2 Argentina 5.
P W D L F A Pts
Belgium 2 1 1 0 10 6 4
India 2 1 1 0 10 7 4
SAfrica 2 1 0 1 7 8 3
Poland 2 0 0 2 4 10 0
P W D L F A Pts
Argentina 3 2 1 0 10 6 7
Japan 3 1 2 0 6 5 5
Canada 3 1 0 2 6 6 3
Malaysia 3 0 1 2 5 10 1