MALAYSIA played their worst game of the Sultan of Johor Cup when they were held to a 2-2 draw by Pakistan at the Taman Daya Stadium yesterday.
The draw will see last year's silver medallist playing Pakistan again in the Fifth-Sixth classification match today. The final will be between India and Great Britain.
For the record, Pakistan coach Muhammad Ibrahim said his charges only had 12 days of training and he is very proud of their fighting spirit against Malaysia.
"We selected the team a day before flying off to Malaysia, and played our first match as a team when we met Britain in the opening clash," said Ibrahim.
As for Malaysian coach Arul Selvaraj: "I expected too much from this team, and I am disappointed that their maturity, physical and tactical side was a letdown. So I blame myself for their failure as I expected too much from this set of players."
Malaysia needed four goals to play against Australia in the third-fourth classification match, but a pathetic start saw them trail Pakistan by a goal in the 17th minute.
Pakistan, who had let in 15 goals before the Malaysia match, scored only their fourth goal of the tournament when Ali Mubashar was on target off their second penalty corner.
As for Malaysia, the cake went to Ashran Hamsani for losing the grip on his hockey stick and letting it fly high instead of the ball in the early minutes of the game.
And with 40 seconds left, the cake went to Azril Misron for failing to connect a perfect across-the-goal-mouth cross.
Malaysia had nine penalty corners in the first half, and only perfected number eight in the 31st minute when Shahril Saabah nailed the equaliser.
And 10 minutes after the re-start, it was evident that Malaysia are not going to meet their target, and will play Pakistan again in the fifth-sixth classification today.
Fifty-two minutes into the match Malaysia finally took the lead for the first time, when Shahril scored his brace off Malaysia's 12th penalty corner.
But even before one could savour the moment, Pakistan equalised in the 55th when Mohsin Sabir's reverse stick went sailing in.
The heavens opened up with five minutes on the clock, but even after the restart, there was no change in the Malaysian attitude and the score remained.
India, who had 10 players who came out of the country for the first time, thrashed Australia 6-2 to confirm a date with Great Britain in the final today.
Coach Harendra Singh had always emphasised that: "I have 10 players who made their first passposts and came out of the country to play. But they have shown that they have what it takes to play good hockey and improve with every match to make the final."
India, the defending champions, only lost to Britain 2-0 in the pool match.
RESULTS: Australia 2 India 6; Pakistan 2 Malaysia 2; New Zealand x Great Britain x.
TODAY: Fifth-Sixth: Malaysia v Pakistan (3.30pm); Third-Fourth: Australia v New Zealand (6.05pm); Final: Great Britain v India (8.35pm).
P W D L F A Pts
G BRITAIN 4 4 0 0 15 3 12
INDIA 5 4 0 1 18 7 12
AUSTRALIA 5 2 1 2 10 16 7
N ZEALAND 4 1 1 2 8 9 4
MALAYSIA 5 0 2 3 8 12 2
PAKISTAN 5 0 2 3 5 17 2
MALAYSIA: Ridzwan Azmi, Fitri Jasni, Ashran Hamsani, Luqman Nul Haqim, Azril Misron, Najib Hassan, Meor Azuan, Sufi Ismat, Haziq Samsul, Firdaus Omar, Norsyafiq Sumantri, Amirol Aideed, Shahril Saabah, Syed Shafiq, Ahmad Ashraf, Azwar Rahman, D. Selvanayagam, Najmi Farizal.