MALAYSIA'S sick-bay trio salvaged a 3-3 draw against New Zealand in the 25th Edition of the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh yesterday.
Skipper Razie Rahim, forwards Firhan Ashaari and Shahril Saabah were fielded in the first-11 even though they were down with high fever for the last three days -- and all three scored a goal each.
Even though the trio had barely recovered, all three played with full zest and Firhan scored a beauty of a goal in the dying seconds of the first quarter for the lead.
In a fast paced 15 minutes, Malaysia matched the Kiwis in speed and ball control and just when the first quarter clock showed 15 seconds to end, the deadlock was broken.
A pass from Meor Azuan found Firhan, whose first attempt was blocked by goalkeeper Kyle Pontifax, but Firhan made sure with a cheeky lift over the towering goalkeeper for the lead.
However, New Zealand got back into the match in the 22nd minute when Nick Wilson weaved past three defenders to slot in the ball past rookie goalkeeper Hafizuddin Othman.
And the score stood until the half-time 10 minute break.
New Zealand took the lead off a similar attack in the 34th minute, and it was Wilson who was on target again.
Skipper Razie gave Malaysia a life-line off only the second penalty corner in the 44th minute, when he drove home a thundering drive to draw level at 2-2.
Malaysia came back from the dead to lead 3-2 when Shahril Saabah scored off a penalty corner attempt in the 48th minute.
However, New Zealand were handed six back-to-back penalty corners and Simon Child scored the equaliser in the 55th minute.
In the opening match Pakistan upset Olympics-bound Canada 3-1 with goals from Muhammad Arslan Qadir (27th, 28th) and Muhammad Arshad (52nd).
The Canada goal was scored by Richard Hildreth (52nd).
India survived an early goal from Kenji Kitazato off a 17th minute penalty corner to edge Japan 2-1.
The India come-back was spurred by Harmanpreet Singh (25th) and skipper Sardar Singh scored the winner in the 32nd minute.
P W D L F A Pts
PAKISTAN 1 1 0 0 3 1 3
INDIA 1 1 0 0 2 1 3
MALAYSIA 1 0 1 0 3 3 1
N ZEALAND 1 0 1 0 3 3 1
JAPAN 1 0 0 1 1 2 0
CANADA 1 0 0 1 1 3 0
AUSTRALIA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
RESULTS: Pakistan 3 Canada 1, Japan 1 India 2, Malaysia 3 New Zealand 3.
April 7: Australia v India (4pm), New Zealand v Canada (6pm), Malaysia v Japan (8.35pm).
April 8: REST DAY.
April 9: Japan v Canada (4pm), New Zealand v Pakistan (6pm), Malaysia v Australia (8.35pm).
April 10: Japan v New Zealand (4pm), Australia v Pakistan (6pm), Canada v India (8.35pm).
April 11: REST DAY.
April 12: Australia v New Zealand (4pm), Pakistan v India (6pm), Malaysia v Canada (8.35pm).
April 13: New Zealand v India (4pm), Australia v Japan (6pm), Malaysia v Pakistan (8.35pm).
April 14: REST DAY.
April 15: Japan v Pakistan (4pm), Australia v Canada (6pm), Malaysia v India (8.35pm).
April 16: Classifications and Final.