It’s been more than twelve hours since Johor DT were officially knocked out of the AFC Cup by Filipino side Ceres Negros, but it’s understandable if JDT fans are still attempting to shrug their frustrations off. They were so close to making it through until a controversial penalty incident blew their chances away in the last few minutes of the game – anyone would be left flabbergasted by a dramatic end like that.
But the debate that has been actively circulating social media continues to revolve around the referee’s decision to award the spot-kick. The initial reactions of most people went against the referee’s call as it was difficult to get a clear depiction of the foul on live television. Soon enough, an image that was uploaded by a Filipino journalist started swaying opinions on Twitter and Facebook.
Penalty? Nice shot by Bacolod-based photographer Mymy Alagaban on the controversial foul by JDT's Aidil Zafuan on Fernando Rodriguez pic.twitter.com/5erh0OlZfe
— Cedelf P. Tupas (@cedelfpt3) May 31, 2017
Shebby Singh, who was on Fox Sports Asia’s pundit desk for the game last night, also applauded the referee’s decision, claiming that it was a ‘brave call’ and that Aidil should know better than to tug at opponents inside the penalty box. However, another individual who was a part of Fox Sports’ live coverage of the match seems to completely disagree and we asked him why.
“Firstly, let’s say Aidil had no contact on Rodriguez. Would that have had any bearings on the flight of the ball that was travelling past everyone? Look at the replay carefully and can you tell me if Fernando Rodriguez, at any point of it, actually had real intent to go for the ball?,” Stanley Samuel, who was commentating on the game alongside Dez Corkhill, told FourthOfficial.com
The ex-Malaysian international also believes that there were clear moments of inconsistency from the match official, Fu Ming, based on several other incidents that took place throughout the match.
“Let’s go back to a few key moments. Manuel Herrera retaliated towards Mahali Jasuli in the first half but nothing happened. We’ve seen red cards being given for that. On the 49th minute, Herrera was well beaten by Hazwan Bakri but goes on to obstruct Hazwan with no intention to get the ball. Hazwan had a genuine chance to get the ball onto his left foot but was obstructed by Herrera. But this one was a 50-50 just like the Aidil incident, and that’s precisely why I didn’t think it was a penalty.
“But how did the referee opt against calling a foul on that Hazwan incident but then point to the spot immediately at the end, without any ounce of hesitation? Where did the braveness go when Herrera kicked Mahali off the ball? Why wasn’t he consistent with the braveness with regards to the Hazwan incident too?
“Let’s face it, JDT deserved to be down at half time, because Ceres had a solid first 45 minutes. They were the better side. But in the second half, Ceres were nowhere near their tempo in the first half. Johor capitalized on that and got the goal. What bothers me is that the match was decided by a ridiculous decision from the referee,” he added.
In the aftermath of last night’s game, Shebby Singh completely tore into JDT goalkeeper Farizal Marlias, who was sent off excessively protesting against the referee in the final minutes of the game. “I hope he doesn’t play for JDT again, he has disgraced the 3.6 million Johoreans in Malaysia” a frustrated Shebby said. Since then, JDT fans have responded by publicly defending Farizal on social media platforms. JDT owner Tunku Ismail himself released a video to show his support towards the ex-Selangor goalkeeper and it doesn’t surprise Stan at all.
“I would love to know if the 3.6 million Johoreans share his sentiments. At the end of the day, I don’t condone what Farizal did, but I know why he lost his cool and I’m sure we will see him playing for Johor DT again,” Stanley added.
What are your thoughts on the incident? Do you think the referee was poor? Let us know!