Singapore captain Shahril Ishak believed the referee was largely to blame for Singapore's 1-3 defeat to Malaysia, but promised that the team would come back stronger at the next tournament.
The score was still tied at one apiece when referee Ahmed Abu Bakar Said blew his whistle after Amri Yahyah, Shakir Hamzah and Hafiz Sujad came together while challenging for a high ball in the Singapore penalty area.
The decision confused the Singapore players, many who confronted the referee shortly after the referee's intentions became apparent.
Safiq Rahim netted the penalty to set Malaysia on their way, before substitute Indra Putra wrapped up the three points with a third goal.
“The decision was made and that killed the game,” Shahril said after the match.
“We came back to 1-1, and we played our hearts out. After the penalty decision I couldn’t do much since it happened, and all of you saw [what happened]. But it wouldn’t change even if I said anything.
“The Malaysians thought it was goal kick and when I saw the referee blow for a penalty, we were surprised and we were asking what happened.
“He said it was pushing inside [the penalty area]. The referee had made the decision so he couldn't change [it]. It was very disappointing.”
The Singapore captain however, felt that his team had performed during the tournament, and promised improvement at the next Suzuki Cup, to be held jointly by Myanmar and the Philippines in 2016.
“We did very well,” he said.
“This team is all [made up of] true Singaporeans and we need time for us to adapt to Coach Bernd’s philosophy.
“We will do well in the next tournament.”
Photo: Weixiang Lim/FourFourTwocomments