India wasted a two-goal advantage to draw 3-3 against hosts Malaysia in their last inconsequential round-robin match of The Sultan of Johor Cup Under-21 hockey tournament in Malaysia.
With this match, India finished on top of the standings but the result of the tie was merely of academic interest as both India and Malaysia have already qualified for Sunday’s summit clash ahead of game.
Both India and Malaysia finished with 13 points and were unbeaten in the round robin stages but the Indians managed the top position on account of a better goal difference.
With their final spots already sealed, both the teams lacked urgency and did not go all out in the match.
The Indians dominated the early exchanges and took the lead in the 10th minute when Satbir Sing slammed in from a rebound after Amit Rohidass' initial attempt from a penalty corner was blocked by Malaysian goalkeeper Mohd Hazrul Ahmad Sobri.
Malaysia earned a penalty corner in the 25th minute but wasted the opportunity as they failed to stop the push.
India doubled their lead in the 33rd minute through Ramandeep Singh who scored from an acute angle from the right to notch up his sixth goal in the tournament.
India, however, did not look impressive at the change of ends as they seemed contended with the two goal lead.
Malaysia were the better side on display in the second half as they created more scoring opportunities but goals eluded them till the last 10 minutes of the game.
Malaysia changed the complexion of the match in the last 10 minutes by pumping in three goals to make a stunning comeback.
Malaysia reduced the deficit in the 61st minute when Shahril Saabah converted a penalty corner. Three minutes later Rashid Baharom latched on to a through pass from skipper Fitrii Saari to send a high flick into the top net past Indian custodian Harjot Singh.
Shahril scored his second goal of the day in the 68th minute converting another penalty corner to make it 3-2 in favour of the hosts.
Vice-captain Affan Yousof turned out to be the saviour for his side by scoring a brilliant field goal in the final minute of the match to equalise for India.