Written By: Nigel Chin
LionsXII head coach Fandi Ahmad cut an upset figure after his team’s 1-1 draw with ATM FA as he expressed his displeasure with the refereeing decisions made during the game.
The Singapore side were set for their fourth straight league victory after Hafiz Sujad had put them ahead with a strike late in the first half, but a controversial penalty by Abdulafees Abdulsalam denied them the three points.
The decision to award a penalty against the LionsXII did not sit well with Fandi, especially since replays showed that the foul had occurred outside the box.
LionsXII also had a legitimate shout for a penalty of their own turned down by the man in the middle, when Hafiz was kicked from behind by Fazly Alias inside the ATM box.
“We were disappointed with the state of refereeing. We can’t take this,” Fandi stated angrily.
“Coming from the back to whack the players, this is not football. This is unjustifiable. It’s (the standard of refereeing tonight) is too bad. He gave a penalty against us when there wasn’t one, but never gave us one when he should have.
“We just have to forget about this and play to the whistle, because the referee is always right, but that was wrong I tell you.
“This is the first time I’m angry. It was clear cut, the referees gave them a point.”
LionsXII will next face PDRM FA away on Friday, a team which they defeated 5-3 in the opening game of the season.
While Fandi described them as tough opponents, he asserts that his side will be ready for PDRM.
“Tonight we are leaving for Kuala Lumpur, and we hope that the boys can recover. We will have to make some changes again, and try to rotate the players like what we did today,” Fandi said.
“The fatigue is there, but mentally I hope that they can be ready for the next game because it will be a tough time against PDRM. We cannot take things for granted.
“After their loss last time, I’m sure they will want to beat us but we will be ready.”