Tuesday, September 27, 2011
We are back. Just got in from our 5 hour stop-over in Saigon, which was made considerably less boring by access to wi-fi and watching the highlights of the Final on YouTube. It was such a nailed-on penalty (in injury time) that it hurts to watch the replays but the follow-up by our players on the referee (Marai Alawaji from Saudi Arabia - pictured) and the after-match scenes also make me weep as well. For the non-penalty, Hong Ratana was slaughtered from behind by their huge number 3 and the referee, no less than 10 yards away, simply chose to ignore it. He knew exactly what he was doing. He had a perfect view of it. Even their players stopped momentarily expecting the whistle. Every one of the Crown players had their arms in the air demanding a spot-kick. The referee was the only one who didn't agree. If the AFC review of the game doesn't censure the referee for his utter failure to spot the most obvious, then it will merely confirm what we've known all along. If he had given the penalty, as he should've, then none of what happened immediately afterwards would've taken place. At that moment, the Crown players knew they had been cheated and they reacted on the spur of the moment. In the worst possible way. He was the trigger for the series of events that ultimately reflect very badly on Crown as well as the Taipower team.