MALAYSIA came back from being two goals down, but still lost 3-2 to South Korea in the Olympic Qualifiers at the University College grounds in Dublin yesterday.
The defeat now means Malaysia must beat Ireland on Saturday if they want to play in the final of the Qualifier.
Thirty seconds into the match, and Malaysia's stout defender Madzli Ikmar is brought down with a bloody nose, and Amin Rahim is brought in.
Unfazed, Malaysia press ahead and win their first penalty corner in the second minute, but the set-piece was weak and Korea mounted a counter attack, which saw Nabil Fiqri yellow carded for a rough tackle and he will sit out for at least five minutes.
Korea then won their first penalty corner in the fourth minute, and even though Baljit Singh stopped the first attempt, the Koreans went ahead when the ball was pumped back in for You Hyo Sik to tap home.
Malaysia looked like they were still not warmed up as Hafifi Hafiz first missed a sitter, and then the rebound also went to waste as Faizal Saari misjudged the ball in the 24th minute.
Nothing went right for Malaysia in the first 35 minutes of the match, as Madzli was yellow carded in the 34th minute, and they even failed to score off a last second penalty corner, and went into the dressing room a man and also a goal down, but with plenty of time for a fight-back.
Malaysia started on a more promising note, and led by a determined Baljit Singh, they started making inroads into the Korean semi-circle, something that was missing in the first half.
But Korea kept their cool, and a mistake in attack saw a counter in the 42nd and You Hyo Sik's reverse stick shot beat goalkeeper S. Kumar with ease for a 2-0 lead.
With 17 minutes remaining on the clock, it was Korea who did all the running and attacking, as Malaysia went into a shell and lost their confidence.
However, a cool Hafifi Hafiz started a Malaysian fightback in the 54th minute when he slotted home the first goal with a clever tap form close range to take his tournament tally to four goals.
And the spark was turned into a bonfire in the 59th minute, when Malaysia won their fourth penalty corner and this time, Amin Rahim's low push was deflected to the top of the net by Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin for the much needed equalsier.
But Korea were not in a mood to share the spoils, and with three minutes on the clock, Jang Jong Hyun's powerful penalty corner flick sailed in for the win.