Ipoh: Giant-killers Malaysia held Pakistan to a 2-2 draw to continue their unbeaten run in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament on Thursday. The draw means Pakistan are out of the final race along with India and Korea. Both Korea and Pakistan have four points from as many matches, while India could manage only three from four outings.
Both hosts Malaysia and Australia are atop the leader-board with eight points each from from four matches. New Zealand, with six points from four outings, is the only other team in the race for a place in Sunday's summit clash. To seal their final berth, New Zealand need to beat Australia in the Trans-Tasman clash on Saturday.
For both Australia and Malaysia, a draw in their final round-robin games will be enough to seal their place in the final. The hosts will be up against India in the final match on Saturday.
Against Pakistan on Thursday, Malaysia surged ahead in the sixth minute of the game, courtesy a penalty corner conversion by Saari Faizal from the first of the 11 short corners they earned in the game.
Pakistan equalised through captain Muhammad Imran, who converted his team's third penalty corner in the 15th minute. But Malaysia again restored their lead through Rahim Muhammad Raize, who converted their eight penalty corner in the 53th minute.
Trailing by a goal, Pakistan raised their game and equalised nine minutes later in the 63rd through a beautiful field goal by Shan Ali.