NEWLY promoted Police saw red, but still managed to hold Razak Cup defending champion Malacca to a 2-2 draw in a highly tensed Division One Group A match at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil Wednesday.
Malacca and Police ended with seven points, but the champions topped the group on a better goal average.
In another Division One Group B match, Perak held Terengganu 4-4 to top the group on seven points.
Perak will meet Police in the semi-finals on Friday, while Malacca will play Terengganu in the last four.
National player Azreen Rizal was flashed the red card in the 21st minute for using a vulgar word on umpire Nor Azhar Abiddin. But even with a man down, Police still showed that they are the team to beat in the 54th Edition.
National skipper Razie Rahim, who also lost his temper and was benched with a yellow, salvaged the match for Police with goals in the 14th and 53rd minutes.
The Malacca goals were scored by Firdaus Omar in the 27th minute, and Dedy Ariyadi in the 54th minute.
Police coach Gurmit Singh said: "I think the vulagar word was uttered in the heat of the moment and my player did not deserve a red card. Now we will miss a crucial player in the semi-finals."
Azreen played in the recent Azlan Shah Cup as a midfielder.
Malacca coach Azrul Effendy felt his side played the worst game of the tournament.
"This is our worse match and I know my players can play at a higher level. Hopefully we do not play the same in the semi-finals. We have been in centralised training for more than a month to defend out title, and having come so close, we don't want to lose our grip in the last four," said Azrul.
RESULTS: Division One: Group A: Malacca 2 Police 2, Pahang 4 Johor 3; Group B: Perak 4 Terengganu 4, Negri Sembilan 1 Kuala Lumpur 3.
Women's Group A: Pahang 4 Johor 1, Police 0 Sarawak 0; Group B: Kuala Lumpur 3 Terengganu 1, Armed Forces 4 Negri Sembilan 2; Group C: Malacca 4 Kedah 0, Perak 1 Penang 0.
THURSDAY: Division One - 5th-8th Placing: Pahang v Negri Sembilan (8pm, Pitch I); Johor v Kuala Lumpur (8pm, Pitch II).
Division Two - 5th-8th Placing: Selangor v Sarawak (6pm, Pitch 1), Sabah v Kedah (6pm, Pitch 2);
Women's Second Round - Group X: Pahang v Kuala Lumpur (7.30am, Pitch 1); Group Y: Selangor v Armed Forces (7.30am, Pitch2); Group M: Kedah v Sarawak (9.30am, Pitch 1); Penang v Sabah (9.30am, Pitch 2); 13th - 14th Placing: Police v Negeri Sembilan (6pm, Pitch 2).
Note: All Matches at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.