FA Cup Talking Points: Mora blasts officials as JDT's title defence comes to an end

Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) coach Benjamin Mora felt his side was robbed by the referees as the Southern Tigers were eliminated from the FA Cup by Pahang, while Kedah need to pick themselves up ahead of the semi-finals...

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Tigers too good, but still bow out

The Southern Tigers never looked like losing their FA Cup semi-final tie until they were left stunned by Mohamadou Summareh's all-important header in the 87th minute.

Pahang still lost 2-1 on the night, but progressed 4-3 on aggregate after winning the first leg 3-1 in Kuantan.

We cannot fight an opponent and another five opponents

- Benjamin Mora

The Elephants’ joy was clearly demonstrated by the way the bench celebrated at the final whistle. JDT will feel hard done by after looking a step ahead of their opponents from the very first minute, but they were brought undone by that poor first leg away from home.

Mora’s men were first to the ball, played a higher tempo, kept pressuring Pahang into mistakes and had the match all but wrapped up by halftime following goals from Gonzalo Cabrera and Gabriel Guerra.

In hindsight, the decision to withdraw S. Kunanlan and Safiq Rahim – two stalwarts in the team – may have given Pahang an edge in the final stages of the match.

Mora’s rant valid but it could attract sanctions

Mora held nothing back during the post-match press conference and had a right to do so after referee Zulkifli Ahmad and his two assistants at the Pahang end ignored calls for a penalty after Afif Amiruddin brought Guerra down in the box a few minutes into the second half.

The decision was a poor one and Mora felt his team had been robbed by officials that demonstrated "their lack of ability".

“We lost a game we controlled because of a lot of factors. We cannot fight an opponent and another five opponents (including two goal-line referees),” said Mora.

“It is incredible that for these types of games … a match of such magnitude, the referee does not have the capacity to do the job. They just threw it in the garbage.

“I don’t think they officiated with favour, it’s just their lack of ability. Tactically we won the game.”

Zulkifli also allowed a 88th minute fracas to get out of hand and surprisingly kept all his cards in his pocket despite at least two players deserving a red after Afiq Fazail, Nazmi Faiz Mansor and Fadhli Shas all lost their cool.