Ipoh, Malaysia: Six-time champions Australia huffed and puffed to hold Korea 3-3 in the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey tournament in Ipoh on Thursday.
The second consecutive draw for Australia has thrown open the doors for other teams to keep their hopes alive.
However, the draw has not done any good to Korea as they needed nothing short of a win to remain in contention.
Korea struck through their dependable penalty corner specialist Nam Hyun Woo, who made amends from his earlier two misses, with a rasping low grounder just at the half time.
Trailing by a goal, something which had not happened in this edition, rattled the Australians. True to form and expectations, the team bounced back throwing all its weight in the attack.
The long clearance from the Robert Hammond was well anticipated by Joshua Miller and in a trice he deflected the ball into the net.
The 41st minute goal lifted the Aussie spirits but it was the Koreans, who forged again in fortuitous circumstances.
A long hit from the right by Jung Man Jae was deflected in by Aussie defender Nicholas Budgeon in his desperate attempt to clear.
Thereafter, the Korean attack was in full flow and they struck gold through their sixth penalty corner for their third goal by skipper Lee Seung.
Down but not ready to give anything away, the Aussies came up with twin strikes. First Joshua Miller made capital use of a pass from Jacob Whetton to score a field goal in the 58th minute, while Timothy Deavin added another field goal, his efforts synchronising with the final hooter.
The Koreans ploy of slowing down the proceedings worked wonders on a day when the Australians really missed the services of injured Timothy Bates and defender Daniel Beale.
That Korea forced as many as five penalty corners in the first half itself was a reflection of the domination they enjoyed on the higher-rated opponents. For all they siege in the first half, the Koreans had to wait till the last minute of the first half to forge ahead.