KUANTAN: Mohd Razie Rahim scored his first penalty corner goal of the tournament but it wasn’t enough to save Malaysia from a 2-1 loss to India in their Asian Champions Trophy match at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium.
Razie’s 18th-minute equaliser came to nought as India struck through their own penalty corner specialist – Rupinderpal Singh, who notched a brace (12th, 58th minutes) – to end Malaysia’s three-match winning run.
India top the standings with 13 points from five matches while Malaysia, who will play their last match against South Korea on Thursday, stay second with nine points.
The Koreans have seven points and can move up to second if they beat Malaysia.
The last semi-finalists are Pakistan.
The Malaysia-India match was played at a fast pace. Both teams wanted to win so that they could top the standings and meet the fourth-placed team in the last four on Saturday.
The match was evenly matched in the early stages. But it was India who drew first blood from their second penalty corner in the 12th minute.
Defender Rupinderpal scored with a direct flick to take his tally to nine goals.
Six minutes later, Malaysia drew level when Razie found the net with his direct attempt from a penalty corner setpiece. It was his first goal of the tournament.
The last quarter saw both teams going for the jugular and it was India’s Rupinderpal who scored again with another direct attempt from a penalty corner.
Earlier, skipper Jung Man-jae also scored a brace to lead South Korea to a 4-3 win over a resurgent Japan.
Kim Ju-hun put South Korea ahead in the fourth minute with a field goal before Japan equalised through a Kazuma Murata penalty corner setpiece four minutes later.
The Koreans went ahead again through Man-jae in the 32nd minute. But Japan struck twice in two minutes through Hiroki Sakamoto (44th) and Kenta Tanama (45th) to go 3-2 ahead.
Undeterred, South Korea hit back swiftly through Kim Seung-hoon (46th) and Man-jae (49th) to seal their semi-final place.