Malaysia let slip the lead four times to end up drawing 4-4 against China in a thrilling match of the FIH Series Final Kuala Lumpur.
It was a game of penalty corners as from the total of eight goals, six cane off penalty corners.
In the end Malaysia had only themselves to blame for dropping points in a match they should have won comfortable after dominating the first two quarters.
“ We made several defensive errors and paid the price for it,” said Malaysian coach Roelant Oltmans.
“ Our defensive structure was not good and that resulted in conceding penalty corners and China scores from it.”
And his thoughts were echoed by Razie Rahim.
“ We scored four goals but gave away four as well. We need to look at our penalty corner defence to see where we went wrong,” said Razie.
Malaysia took the lead in the 4th minute as Fitri Saari deflected a pass from a penalty corner attempt by Razie Rahim past the despairing five of China keeper Yan Rong Yao.
China were awarded their first penalty corner in 11th minute but keeper Hairi Abdul Rahman saves well with Najmi Farizal Jazlan clearing from a potential rebound.
Rong Yao’s outstretched left foot then denied Faisal Saari who reverse hot was goal bound in the 14th minute.
At the end of quarter one, Malaysia led China 1-0.
Firhan Ashaari doubled the advantage for Malaysia in the 34th minute with a reverse hit that saw protests from the Chinese players. But with no video referral it was an exercise in futility.
Malaysia looked more menacing when in possession of the ball but were guilty of over dribbling at tines.
And China opted to defend and rely on the occasional counter attacks but that proved ineffective as well.
China got their breakthrough in the 43rd minute when Lin Chang Liang’s deft deflected caught out Hairi from a penalty corner.
Ao Weibo made it 2-2 in the 51st minute from a penalty corner.
Malaysia went 3-2 ahead , yet from another penalty corner set piece, this time Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tg Jalil steering in a deflection from Razie’s attempt in the 52nd minute.
However China hit back right away as Du Talake netted the equaliser a minute later, his drag flick catching Hairi on the wrong foot.
Tengku Ahmad played a neat one two with Firhan to give Malaysia a 4-3 lead with only 3 minutes to play .
China though were not giving up and a minute from time struck their forth, this time DongYang scoring from yet another penalty corner.
With six seconds left on the clock, Malaysia were awarded a penalty corner but could not make it count.
Italy defeated Brazil 3-0 to be certain of a place in the knockout stages.
Italy had a brilliant start to the tournament when they defeated China 2-1 while Brazil suffered a heavy 6-0 defeat at the hands of Malaysia.
This win gives Italy six points and puts them amongst the top two with the tie against Malaysia to determine who gets the automatic slot to the semis.
Italy absorbed the early Brazil pressure to take the lead in the 9th minute through a neat finish by Julian Montone.
It was his second goal in the tournament having scored the opener in their 2-1 win over China on Friday.
And Montone doubled his teams advantage with another goal in the 36th minute.
Italy got their third in the 47th minute through Mattia Amorosini for the three points.
“ We are happy to have won both our matches so far and hope to continue to play well,” said Montone.
“ Though I have scored three goals, it’s really a team effort and even before the tournament we knew we had to lift our game to win matches.
“ It’s going to be tough against Malaysia but we will give it our best shot.”