Outraged Al Hilal officials have demanded the AFC launch a formal investigation into the conduct of the Champions League final which saw Western Sydney Wanderers crowned champions of Asia.
In a no holds barred statement released overnight the club said the two-legged final had “tarnished the reputation” of the Asian confederation.
The Wanderers, who won the final 1-0 on aggregate, returned to Sydney last night to a rapturous welcome by fans after holding Al Hilal goalless in the second leg in Riyadh.
But Al Hilal’s board of directors have called on AFC president Sheikh Salman Al Khalifa to “stop the blunders that were witnessed in the two matches”.
“What happened in the second leg of the AFC Champions League final is a black spot in the history of Asian football, and looting of the right of an entire people who has been waiting for happiness and enjoyment of fair competition,” the statement read.
According to the club the outcome “raised many questions about the AFC Championships and the integrity and fairness of its competitions".
It added there was a “need to ensure the absence of any effect of betting offices scattered among football, by assigning the competent authority in the Asian Confederation to start investigating seriously”.
Second leg penalty claims involving Wanderers’ players Anthony Golec, Brendon Santalab and goalkeeper Ante Covic were dismissed by Japanese referee Yuichi Nishimura – decisions that were criticised by TV commentators.
Al Hilal, however, claimed six penalties (including four in the second leg) were denied by the match officials and questioned the appointment of Nishimura who was widely admonished for awarding a penalty to Brazil in their opening World Cup match.
“It is surprising to appoint a referee for the second leg who was deported from refereeing in the last World Cup as a result of his mistakes during the tournament as well the end of his refereeing career at the end of this game” the statement read.
But Al Hilal may have its own questions to answer following ugly scenes at the final whistle when striker Nasser Al-Shamrani appeared to headbutt and spit on Wanderers defender Matthew Spiranovic.comments