Ipoh (Malaysia): World champion Australia's title defence continued in the right earnest as they defeated Trans-Tasman rivals New Zealand 3-1 to register their fourth straight win, while Korea beat hosts Malaysia 3-2 to stay in the hunt in the Azlan Shah Cup hockey here Thursday.
In the second match of the day at the Azlan Shah Stadium, Australia scored through Dylan Wotherspoon (17th minute), Jamie Dwyer (24th minute) and Jeremy Hayward (28th) to maintain their clean slate in the tournament and become the first team to secure a place in Sunday's summit clash.
The lone goal for the Black Sticks came in the 32nd minute from a penalty stroke which was converted by Andy Hayward.
In the last match of the day, Malaysia slipped out of the title race after suffering their third defeat in the tournament in front of a vociferous home crowd.
Korea took the lead in the third minute through Lee Jung Jun (3rd) before Lee Namyong (29th) and Kim Youngjin (35th) scored two goals.
Malaysia's goals came from penalty corner conversions by Faizal Saari (32nd) and skipper Razie Rahim (34th).
The win kept Korea in the race for the summit clash but they will now have to beat New Zealand in their last league match on Sunday to progress to the final.
Malaysia play minnows Canada in an inconsequential game.