Malaysia's hopes of winning the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup for the first time were dashed after losing 2-1 to South Korea on Wednesday.

The Speedy Tigers, who have never lifted the trophy since its inception in 1983, needed to beat the second-placed Koreans to keep their slim chance of a top-two finish and qualifying for the hockey final.

They had lost 4-2 to India a day earlier.

Despite fully aware ot the task in hand, Roelant Oltmans' men were unable to muster a goal past the South Korea goalkeeper in the first two quarters at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.

It was South Korea who managed to find the opening goal as Lee Nam-yong bagged his fifth goal of the tournament as soon as the second half began.

It did not take long for the lead to increase as Jang Jong-hyun converted a penalty corner four minutes later.

Malaysia attemped to rally back into the game by scoring in the opening minute of the fourth quarter through their own penalty corner specialist, Razie Rahim, but it proved to be their only goal of the game.

The defeat meant the home side would finish outside the top two regardless of the final group stage match on Friday.

It was also their first official loss to South Korea in nine meetings, with their previous defeat coming at the 2015 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

With that, Malaysia were likely to contest the third- and fourth-place play-off, while South Korea progressed to the final to face India.

Mandeep Singh helped the Bharat Army seal a top-two finish by netting a hat-trick in a 7-3 win over Canada.

Meanwhile, Japan notched their first win of the tournament by beating Poland 3-0.

Shota Yamada, Kentaro Fukuda and Hirotaka Wakuri were on the scoresheet for the 2018 Asian Games winners.