Fandi furious at refereeing decisions

LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad has hit out at referee Ahmad Zuhadi for a couple of contentious calls during his team's 1-1 draw away to ATM FA on Tuesday night. 

The visitors had taken the lead through Hafiz Abu Sujad, but a controversial penalty gave ATM a share of the points.

Madhu Mohana was adjudged to have fouled Jerry Palacios in the box, but subsequent replays showed that minimal contact was made and it had happened outside the area.

However, the penalty stood and Abdulafees Abdusalam duly sent LionsXII goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud the wrong way to draw his team level.

An earlier decision had also gone against the LionsXII, with Hafiz sent tumbling in the box after ATM centre-back Fazly Alias aimed a kick at his hip only for the referee to wave play on.

Speaking after the game, Fandi could not hide his displeasure at the refreeing decisions that he felt had cost his team the game.

“We’re very disappointed with the refereeing,” he blurted out.

“This is the first time I’m so angry. The referee is always right but that was wrong; it was bloody wrong. It’s clearly not a penalty at all, he ran onto our player and they get a penalty.

“Anything can happen after that, but [the penalty] gave them a point. We should have gotten one [before that] and that was clear-cut. The guy came from the back and whacked our player – that’s not football, man. This is unjustifiable and we can’t take this, it’s too bad.”

The LionsXII head coach was adamant that his side had done enough to win the game against a gritty ATM side which is currently battling to escape relegation to the second tier.  

“I thought we deserved to win this game,” he insisted.

“I knew they would keep pumping the ball up because they have two big boys (Abdulafees and Palacios) and also Hairuddin (Omar) upfront as well, so we were quite disciplined and we were on top of them for most of the time.

“But because of the penalty, the game turned back against us and we nearly lost the game in the last minute.”

The LionsXII are in a middle of a congested fixture list, and are set to play again in three days' time against PDRM FA.

Fandi admitted that he would continue his rotation policy, with Khairul Amri and Faris Ramli set to return to the starting lineup after being named on the bench in Paroi.

“Definitely the fatigue is there but I hope mentally they’ll be ready for the next game,” the 53-year-old said.

“I will try to rotate the players like what I did tonight and it’s going to be a hard game against PDRM especially after their loss (to Pahang FA), so we cannot take things for granted.”

Photo: Football Association of Singapore