Ipoh:Malaysia snatched an exciting 2-1 win over India to join Australia in the final of the 16th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup eight-nation hockey tournament on Friday.
In a match that resembled a bout between two lightweight boxers, the Indians scored points through jabs, but the Malaysians delivered the knock-out punch.
Ahmed Tajuddin (11th) put Malaysia ahead, but India equalised in the 13th through Shivendra Singh. However, the hosts struck a second time on a lucky break with Kelwinder Singh (40th) finding the boards for the match-winner.
Malaysia made it to the final of this tournament after a long gap of 22 years.
The Malaysian tactics were apparent from the start as they chipped away from the right flank, giving India's left-back Harpal Singh a working over.
Consequently, the Indians virtually invited the speedy Malaysian forwards into the striking circle.
It was no surprise then that the hosts struck in the 11th minute when the pocket-sized dynamite Selvaraju broke in from the right, past a tentative Harpal and centred for Tajuddin to make the telling deflection.
To India's credit, the youngsters kept their composure and equalised two minutes later with Shivendra having all the time to trap a Sardara Singh pass and slam it in with as many as three defenders around him.