IPOH: Pakistan’s hopes of making it to the final of the Azlan Shah Hockey Cup final were dealt a definitive blow as they were held by Malaysia in their fourth match.
Malaysia had taken the lead in the sixth minute through Faisal Saari. But the green shirts pegged them back in the 15th minute through Muhammad Irfan as he scored off a penalty corner.
But Malaysia, who needed a win to solidify a spot in the final, pressed on for the remainder of the half without any luck.
Pakistan had managed to get a number of penalty corners in their last match against India. On Thursday, it was Malaysia’s turn to get the lion’s share of the penalty corners. And in the 40th minute Pakistani goalkeeper Imran Butt was tested by Malaysia. He was called into action again on 53rd minute from another Malaysian penalty corner, but this time Butt could not keep Mohd Razie Rahim strike out and Malaysia led 2-1.
Malaysia then won three penalty corners after their second goal but failed to extend their lead. They would soon rue those missed chances as the green shirts managed to come back and level the scores again.
With the spoils shared, Pakistan finished on 4 points from four games, just one better than bottom placed India. The green shirts now face South Korea on Saturday in their final match.
The race for the final is now split three ways with Australia (eight), Malaysia (eight) and New Zealand (six) in a three way battle.