MALAYSIA were held 2-2 by Olympic bound Canada, while Argentina became the first team to qualify for the final of the 17th Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh yesterday.
Argentina beat New Zealand 2-1, while Pakistan lost a golden opportunity to follow suit, when they lost 5-3 to Belgium. Pakistan will now have to beat India today, if they want to play in the final.
Malaysia were at the receiving end for 19 minutes, but held on steadily and stunned the Canadians with a cracker if a goal.
Madzli Ikmar took a shot from deep inside the Malaysian half, and the ball whizzed past a handful of Canadians before reached Chua Boon Huat, who was standing at the Canadian penalty spot.
Chua’s back was towards the goal-mouth, but his reverse stick went past a defender and the Canadian goalkeeper Mike Mahood to give Malaysia the lead.
But in an anticlimax, after Malaysia missed three chances to increase the lead, goalkeeper S. Kumar made a blunder and handed Canada the equaliser.
Kumar rushed out to the top of the semi-circle to clear the ball, but missed and Sukhwinder Singh scored the easiest goal of the tournament and Canada were back on level terms.
But Malaysia went into the dressing room with a one-goal lead, when Amin Rahim’s direct penalty corner attempt sounded the board in the 27th minute.
The hosts lived dangerously in the second half, and allowed Canada a free hand to win penalty corners, but Baljit Singh Charun, the first runner, was too fast for them.
There were plenty of opportunities to increase the lead, but Kelvinder Singh and S. Selvaraju were not sharp enough in the semi-circle.
But Canada nailed the equaliser in the 62nd minute, off their sixth penalty corner, which was scored by Mike Tuffer.
(By Jugjet Singh)