JOHOR BARU: Malaysia led twice but allowed Argentina to fight back for a 2-2 draw in the Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium.
It was Malaysia’s first point in the tournament after losing 4-2 to Britain in their opening match on Sunday. Argentina, who stunned Australia 1-0 in their opener, are second on four points.
Mohamed Shahril Saabah scored both goals for Malaysia. Argentina’s Thomas Domene also scored a brace.
Mohamed Ridzwan Azmi was maintained as the goalkeeper although he was widely blamed for the loss to Britain.
Malaysia were the early aggressors, earning two penalty corners in the first five minutes. But they failed to make the attempts count.
In the sixth minute, Malaysia received another penalty corner and Mohamed Shahril scored with a high flick to the right.
After a series of raids, Argentina finally drew level through Domene’s flick from a penalty corner in the 27th minute.
Meor Mohamed Azuan Hassan was yellow carded in the 29th minute. Despite being down to 10 men, Malaysia were able to snatch the lead in the 32nd minute when Shahril converted a penalty corner.
In the second half, Malaysia struggled to contain the South Americans’ robust play.
Argentina finally found the equaliser in the 61st minute when Domene fired home a penalty corner.
Malaysia coach A. Arulselvaraj said there was a marked improvement in performance compared to their first match against Britain.
“We had our chances today and the players did much better. This is what we want to see – improvement in each match.
“We’re glad to hold out for at least a point although at one stage we could have won. We have a rest day tomorrow before taking on Australia on Wednesday. They are always a tough team to play,” said Arulselvaraj.
In another match, Britain edged defending champions India 4-3 to head the standings with six points while Australia put their title ambitions back on track with a 6-2 win over winless Pakistan.
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