MALAYSIA lost ground in their quest to qualify for the final of the Asian Champions Trophy when the Asian Games silver medallists were edged 2-1 by China in Doha yesterday.
Despite dominating the first half, Paul Revington's side were left stunned after China scored two quick goals, both from penalty corner set-pieces through Wang Hong Yun and captain Song Yi.
Faizal Shaari reduced the deficit late in the second half, for his fifth goal in the tournament. Malaysia pressed hard in the final minutes but China defended stoutly for their second win in four matches.
The unexpected loss to China after a promising start does not augur well for Malaysia's progress in the sport.
In an earlier match, Japan hammered winless Oman 7-1.
National coach Revington must work on his team's weaknesses ahead of next year's priority assignments.
Depending on other results, Malaysia must beat India tomorrow to have any chance of qualifying for the final.
Following wins over Japan (4-1) and Oman (4-1), Malaysia held Champions Trophy bronze medallists Pakistan 3-3 on Sunday.
Fitri Shaari scored after 20 minutes before his elder brother Faizal added a brace in the 43rd and 68th minutes.
RESULTS: China 4 Japan 3, India 11 Oman 0, Pakistan 3 Malaysia 3, Japan 7 Oman 1, Malaysia 1 China 2.