Safuwan laments 'soft' penalty decision

 Singapore's centre back Safuwan Baharudin believes he was harshly penalised for the handball that led to Thailand’s late winner at the National Stadium on Sunday evening. 

The game looked destined for a 1-1 draw before that fateful incident which saw Safuwan’s right hand make contact with Charyl Chappuis’ right-wing cross.

The latter eventually stepped up from 12 yards and slotted clinically past Hassan Sunny to give the Thais all three points.

“To me, it was a soft penalty,” Safuwan said after the game.

“It was harsh because I was backpedalling and my boots got stuck on the pitch.

“When you feel that you’re falling, your natural reaction will be to protect your body – I wasn’t raising up my hands.

“But when the referee thinks differently, you cannot counter back.”

The Lions had a series of chances to take the lead before Chappuis’ late penalty, but failed to put them away – something which the 23-year-old believes came back to haunt them.

“We could have killed the game off early but we didn’t manage to finish,” Safuwan said.

“When you don’t do so, you end up committing mistakes towards the end because you’re running out of steam.

“The least we could do was to get a draw but eventually we ended up with zero points.”

Despite his unfortunate involvement which led to the match-winner, Safuwan asserted that his teammates has absolved him from any blame as he looks forward to the all-important game against Myanmar on Wednesdday.

“Anyone can be in my position,” he said.

“That’s why there’s no finger-pointing to anyone. We know we did our best and to concede goals like that is really unfortunate.

“The mood in the camp is still high and we know we can get something out of the last two games. At the back of our minds, we know that we’re capable of beating Myanmar and Malaysia.”