IT WAS a penalty corner contest, when Malaysia stole a point off Argentina in a hard-fought 2-2 draw in the Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru yesterday.
After losing 2-4 to Britain on Sunday, Malaysia were more composed as Shahril Saabah scored a penalty corner brace, while Tomas Domene replied the favour for the first draw of the tournament.
"Credit is due to all my players who bounced back after losing to Britain," said coach Arul Selvaraj.
After a day's break, Malaysia play Australia: "The break is a welcome relief after we played two back-to-back tough matches. It will be used to motivate my players for another good performance against Australia," said Arul.
Australian coach Ben Bishop said his boys are looking forward to the Malaysian match.
"Malaysia are a hard-working side and we expect them to give us a tough time. Backed by a very vocal crowd, I believe it is going to be a very challenging time for us," said Bishop.
Malaysia were a more composed side as they pinned Argentina for long periods and kept winning penalty corers. And this time, Shahril Saabah did not disappoint his fans.
Shahril gave Malaysia the lead off a sixth minute penalty corner, but Argentina equalised also off a penalty corner when Tomas Domene scored in the 26th minute.
Shahril, who played with the senior side in the World League Semi-finals in Belgium, re-took the lead in the 31st minute and Malaysia walked into the dressing room with a slim lead.
The natinal juniors were in their element in the second half, but bungled too many chances and Domene punished them with a penalty corner attempt in the 61st minute.
In another match, Silver medallists Britain edged gold medallists India 4-3 in a pulsating match, with Luke Taylor taking the starring role again.
Taylor, who hit a hat-trick against Malaysia, scored a brace with the second match-winner coming two minutes from time.
The Britain goals were scored by James Simpson (ninth), Luke Taylor (30th, 68th) and Jack Clee (47th). India's goals were scored by Sumit Kumar (17th, 26th), Manpreet Singh (29th).
Australia bounced back in style when they hammered Pakistan 6-2, after losing their opening match 1-0 to Argentina.
The Australian goals were scored by Andrew Scanlon (8th, 12th), Hayden Beltz (27th), Jack Welch (63rd) and Max Hendry (29th, 69th).
Pakistan got their goals off Ali Mubashar in the 31st and 41st minutes.
RESULTS: Australia 6 Pakistan 2, Britain 4 India 3, Malaysia 2 Argentina 2.
TODAY: REST DAY.
TOMORROW: Britain v Pakistan (4.35pm), Argentina v India (6.3pm), Malaysia v Australia (8.35pm).
P W D L F A Pts
BRITAIN 2 2 0 0 8 5 6
ARGENTINA 2 1 1 0 3 2 4
INDIA 2 1 0 1 8 5 3
AUSTRALIA 2 1 0 1 6 3 3
MALAYSIA 2 0 1 1 4 6 1
PAKISTAN 2 0 0 2 3 11 0