MALAYSIA played the best game of the tournament, but were denied a point when India won 2-1 in the Asian Champions Trophy in Kuantan Wednesday.
India will go into the semi-finals as the No 1 team, while Malaysia need to beat South Korea today to remain in the No 2 or No 3 bracke heading into the last four.
Rupinder Pal Singh scored both the goals, to take his tally to 10, and denied a fighting Malaysia their glory.
Goalkeeper S. Kumar said: "We had our chances but could not make it count, and world No 6 India is never easy to beat. We lost fighting, and kept our heads high the entire match and that's what is more important heading into the last match against Korea."
Kumar, who brought off brilliant saves to deny India strikers, knows that the semi-finals is the most important match of this tournament.
"As we are already in the last four, we need to give another good performance against Korea and they give our all in the semi-finals. That's what matters in the end," said Kumar.
For the record, Malaysia finished bronze medallist in the last three editions, and making the final would be a great achievement.
Goalkeeper S. Kumar brought out half a dozen saves to keep Malaysia in the match, going into the half-time breather as India tried every trick in the book but were denied at the last shot by the veteran custodian.
India took the lead, when tournament top-scorer Rupinder Pal Singh was denied his direct penalty corner flick, but he charged up and slammed the rebound in the 13th minute to take his tally to nine goals.
However, Malaysia never broke like their usual self, and attacked relentlessly and got the equaliser in the 18th minute.
Razie Rahim blasted in Malaysia's first penalty corner for his first goal of the tournament.
The crowd turned up in full force, as Malaysia won their last three matches convincingly.
Malaysia played one of their best matches in this tournament, as they pushed India to defend in numbers.
However, with two minutes remaining in the game, Rupinder Pal scored his 10th goal of the tournament -- and Malaysia removed S. Kumar to play a kicking back.
Coach van Huizen's men won their last penalty corner with 26 seconds remaining but failed to score the equaliser.
RESULTS: South Korea 4 Japan 3, Malaysia 1 India 2.
THURSDAY: Pakistan v China (6.30pm), Malaysia v South Korea (8.30pm).
P W D L F A Pts
INDIA 5 4 1 0 25 6 13
MALAYSIA 4 3 0 1 17 7 9
S. KOREA 4 2 1 1 10 8 7
PAKISTAN 4 2 0 2 9 10 6
CHINA 4 1 0 3 6 20 3
JAPAN 5 0 0 5 11 27 0