India failed to make it to the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament, going down 1-2 to Malaysia in a pulsating semi-final in Ipoh, Malaysia, on Friday.
The Malaysians will meet Australia in the title round. The Olympic champions made the grade with a thumping 6-2 victory over Korea in the other semi-final, played earlier.
India were unlucky not make it to the final. They had several moments of ascendancy, but defensive lapses and poor finishing proved their undoing. The Malaysians, backed by a vociferous home crowd, capitalized on those errors to come out trumps.
Ahmed Tajuddin put Malaysia ahead in the 11th minute, connecting home a cross from Selvaraj.
India drew abreast within three minutes when Shivendra Singh, who came on a minute earlier in place of Raghunath, trapped a cross from Sardara Singh on the right and swept the ball home.
Shivendra could have added another goal to his name in the 22nd minute, but he failed with the easiest of tasks of putting the ball into an empty goal after Gurbaj Singh worked his way down the right flank to the touch line and laid the ball for him on a platter.
Kelvinder Singh's goal five minutes after the breather turned out to be the match-winner.
The Indians pressed hard for goal thereafter but solid defending by the Malaysian denied them success.
Earlier, the Aussies proved a class above the Koreans, getting their goals through Desmond Abbot (9th, 69th minutes), Andrew Smith (22nd), Liam Deyoung (37th), Eli Matheson (51st) and Grant Schubert (60th).
Jeong Yun Sang (11th) and Lee Sung Min (57th) scored for Korea.