Ipoh: Five-time champions India kept alive their hopes in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament with a 3-2 win over hosts Malaysia here Monday.
India, who lost to Britain Sunday, made a quick start and dominated the proceedings right from the start, but Malaysia came back strongly from two goals down but still missed out narrowly.
Danish Mujtaba (9th), Shivendra Singh (12th) and Tushar Khandker (43rd) struck for India while Malaysia reduced the margin through Mohammed Amin Rahim (40th) and Mohammed Fitri Saari (57th).
What also helped India's cause was the tournament favourites were shocked 2-3 by Argentina making it an open race for the title clash.
Danish and Shivendra put India 2-0 ahead with just 11 minutes into the game. In the 9th minute Danish scored in a goal-mouth melee after Sarwanjit's shot rebounded off the Malaysian goalkeeper. Shivendra struck off a penalty corner India earned in the 11th minute, when he sounded the board from the top of the circle.
The hosts Malaysia scored their first goal in the 40th minute through Mohd Amin Rahim, who scored off a penalty corner.
However, Tushar made it 3-1 in the very next minute. The goal was set up by Indian centre-half Sardar Singh with a well-disguised reverse pass into the circle. Sunil collected it and took the initial strike that the goalkeeper stopped. The rebound fell in front of Tushar who slotted the ball in.
Mohd Fitri Saari scored another goal for Malaysia in the 58th minute. India will now face Argentina, Wednesday.