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Malaysia deny Pakistan final berth

June 03, 2005 21:30 IST

A spirited Malaysia shocked Pakistan 1-0 and dashed their hopes of making the final in the Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament on Friday.

Their victory paved the way for South Korea, who will meet Australia in the title match on Sunday.

Earlier in the day, Australia beat India 1-0 while South Korea got the better of South Africa 3-2.

Three-time champions Pakistan, needing only a draw to snatch a berth in the final, were stunned by a 40th minute penalty-corner by Malaysia captain Kuhan Shanmuganathan.

This was Malaysia's third win against Pakistan. Their last triumph was in the bronze medal play-off at the Busan Asian Games in 2002.

Pakistan were handicapped by the absence of their star striker Shakeel Abbasi, who was nursing a foot injury.

Their attack lacked the punch in the middle with right-winger Rehan Butt shouldering an additional responsibility. Support from Muddasar Ali Khan, Tariq Aziz and Shabbir Hussain was also found sorely wanting.

The hosts, who had beaten India 4-1 in a league match earlier, produced a spectacular display, blended with tenacious defence and aggressive counter attacks.

Skipper Kuhan led by example, stealing the hearts of the local supporters with his effective tackles and blocks. The cool and calm full-back was a picture of confidence as he walked tall in his striking circle.

Pakistan could not convert any of their five penalty-corners as the attempts from Mohd. Imran were well taken by Malaysia goalkeeper Roslan Jamaludin.

Pakistan will now play New Zealand on Sunday for the third and fourth position.

India will clash with Malaysia for the fifth and sixth places.

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