MALAYSIA gave away a 2-1 victory to Australia in the Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru yesterday.
There were patches of brilliance, but too many unforced errors which saw coach Arul Selvaraj's men fall at the final hurdle of every move.
Malaysian goalkeeper Ridzwan Azmi brought off two fantastic penalty corner saves in the opening
minutes of play, which set the tempo for a sizzling and extertaining match till the last whistle.
And just four minutes into play, Malaysia won a penalty stroke and skipper Haziq Samsul scored from the spot for the lead, and the capacity crowd went wild chanting and drumming patriotic songs.
But Australia showed their might minutes later as Will Gilmour equalised in the 9th minute, as the entire defense stood rooted.
And even though Malaysia fought for possession gallantly and tried to claw back the lead, it was Joshua Bretherton's easy attempt which sailed in, in the 18th minute, to give Australia a 2-1 lead.
The hosts were placed under tremendous pressure by the taller Aussies in the final five minutes of the first half, where the difference was that the Australian defense were solid and rarely made mistakes, while the Malaysian defenders kept giving away penalty corners.
After the breather Malaysia looked much more energetic, but were again let down by poor trapping in the Australian semi-circle, with Shahril Saabah, who has played with the senior side, making the most number of mistakes.
With 10 minuntes remaining, Malaysia started to make more mistakes as Australia moved forward with confidence to increase their lead, but the score stood and now they must beat another Oceania side New Zealand today to keep their hopes alive of playing in the final.
In the SOJC curtain raiser, Great Britain made their debut by hammering Pakistan 5-0.
It was magnificent performance from Great Britain even after their match was delayed for an hour after only three minutes of play, due to a heavy downpour.
" We won with a good margin but I feel we could have played better, " said Great Britain coach Jon Bleby.
However, it was Luke Tahlor's hat-trick which gave them the edge, and made Pakistan look like novices.
I another match, India had the bettter of New Zealand when they won 2-1 via goals from Parvinder Singh (5th) and Varun Kumar (43rd). The Kiwi goal was scored by Nic Woods (53rd).
RESULTS: Malaysia 1 Australia 2; Pakistan 0 Great Britain 5; India 2 New Zealand 1.
TODAY: Great Britain v India (4pm); Australia v Pakistan (6pm); Malaysia v New Zealand (8pm).
P W D L F A Pts
G BRITAIN 1 1 0 0 5 0 3
AUSTRALIA 1 1 0 0 2 1 3
INDIA 1 1 0 0 2 1 3
MALAYSIA 1 0 0 1 1 2 0
N ZEALAND 1 0 0 1 1 2 0
PAKISTAN 1 0 0 1 0 5 0