Pakistan’s Muhammad Saqlain (centre) tries to find a way past Malaysia’s S. Selvaraju (left) and Baljit Singh in their Azlan Shah Cup match in Ipoh yesterday. Malaysia won 3-2. — Pic: MUHAIZAN YAHYA
RESULTS -- Egypt 2 India 2, Malaysia 3 Pakistan 2.
MALAYSIA started on a winning note when they beat Pakistan 3-2 in the 18th Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh yesterday.
It was the first time Malaysia beat Pakistan after the 2002 Busan Asian Games, and the three points placed coach Tai Beng Hai's men among the favourites for a podium finish.
Malaysia started aggressively, and in the eighth minute, Chua Boon Huat's reverse stick shot was blocked by goalkeeper Ehsan Ullah, but the ball fell onto Ismail Abu's path and he duly converted.
But umpire Sayed Ab Del Rady from Egypt blew for a penalty corner instead.
However, Amin Rahim made up for the umpire's mistake with a low flick which crashed into the board for the lead.
But a lapse in defence two minutes later saw Pakistan pull off a swift equaliser with Shakeel Abbasi getting his name on the scoreboard.
But Shahrun Nabil slammed home a rebound in the 29th minute to give Malaysia the lead again.
Malaysia slowed down the game after the breather with square passes and mounted selected counter attacks.
After soaking in some pressure from Pakistan, Malaysia won their first penalty corner after the breather in the 48th minute and Azlan Misron, the pusher, converted with a slap-shot and Malaysia had a 3-1 cushion.
But instead of looking for more goals, Malaysia started defending and gave Pakistan ample opportunities to score, but the men in green only took up one offer when Abbas Haider scored a field goal in the 68th minute.
"This was the start we were looking for and my players delivered. It is never easy playing Pakistan, and the win was possible as every department worked hard, and were in good understanding," said Beng Hai.
Meanwhile, in the curtain raiser, Egypt stunned India 2-2.
Egypt, ranked 21st in the world, stunned 10th ranked India when Mohamed Hassan scored a field goal in the eighth minute.
India had to dig deep into their resources, before Sandip Singh equalised in the 14th minute off a pealty corner attempt.
Shivendra Singh then gave India the lead in the 50th minute, but a 70th minute penalty corner goal by El Saied Amr saw the Egyptians celebrating their "victory".
FIXTURES: April 6: New Zealand v Pakistan (5pm), Malaysia v Egypt (7pm); April 7: REST DAY; April 8: Egypt v New Zealand (5pm), India v Malaysia (7pm); April 9: New Zealand v India (5pm), Pakistan v Egypt (7pm); April 10: REST DAY; April 11: India v Pakistan (5pm), New Zealand v Malaysia (7pm); April 12: Third-Fourth (4.30pm), Final: (7pm).
P W D L F A Pts
MALAYSIA 1 1 0 0 3 2 3
INDIA 1 0 1 0 2 2 1
EGYPT 1 0 1 0 2 2 1
PAKISTAN 1 0 0 1 2 3 0
NEW ZEALAND 0 0 0 0 0 0 0