Kuala Lumpur put the disappointment of the opening match defeat against Penang when they overcame a gritty Malacca 2-1 in a Group B clash in the National Under 21 Tournament at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru.
The win by the city side puts them back in contention for a place in the last four but they will have to overcome Perak in their final match on Friday.
All four teams in the group, Penang, KL, Malacca and Perak have an even chance to make the semis.
Kuala Lumpur went into the lead in the 5th minute when Mohd Zulhairi Hashim scored from a penalty corner.
That gave the city side the confidence they needed as they laid siege on the Malacca goal but failed to find the target.
Against the run of play Malacca were awarded a penalty corner in the 20th minute and KL discard Ganeisha Tamil Chelvam found the back of the net with a powerful drag flick to make it 1-1.
KL were stung and forced a series of penalty corners but Malacca keeper Mohd Hazrulfaiz Ahmad Sobri was in his element as he kept out the attempts by Zulhairi.
At one stage KL were playing with nine players after two of their players were shown the yellow card by the umpires.
Mohd Fitri Saari and Mohd Aslan Mohamed were sent to the sin bin in the 42nd minute but Malacca could not take advantage of the situation.
And KL were awarded a penalty stroke in the 50th minute after the penalty corner attempt by Zulhairi struck Malacca defender Mohd Syakir Amir Kamaruddin on the hand.
Muhammad Taufik Abdul Hamid duly converted the penalty stroke to give KL a 2-1 lead.
Meanwhile Johor went on a rampage to trash Negri Sembilan 5-0 in a Group A match to put them in the drivers seat for a place in the semi finals.
The win gives Johor four points from two matches, the same as Selangor but the hosts top the group on goal difference.
Johor had a dream start, scoring three goals in the opening 15 minutes and that left Negri shell-shocked.
It took Johor only two minutes to open scoring as Mohd Nor Hafiq Abdul Ghaffar scored off a penalty corner.
In the 9th minute it was the turn of his sibling Mohd Nor Akmal Abdul Ghaffar to find the back of the net, also through a penalty corner.
The hosts were on song and Mohd Nor Hafiq scored his second, and Johor’s third in the 14th minute to give them a 3-0 lead.
Muhammad Fariq Saadon made it 4-0 in favour of Johor in the 27th minute, leaving Negri a mountain to climb to salvage the match in the second half.
Khairul Akmar Khuzir scored in the 67th minute to make it 5-0 and give Johor a healthy goal difference going into the final day of preliminary round matches on Friday where they will take on Selangor.