Fandi hopes for 'better' referee for Pahang clash

The LionsXII coach was left to rue the missed penalty calls that he felt had cost his team all three points against Sime Darby, something he says has been a pattern of late
The disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Sime Darby on Saturday night had left LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad seething, not just from the poor performance of his players who he blasted for 'not showing up', but also the refereeing decisions.

Speaking in a post-match TV interview, the former Singapore international looked visibly disappointed as he called out the consistently poor officiating against LionsXII which he felt had cost his team the match.

"It was a clear penalty in the first-half, it should have opened up the game," said Fandi in the interview, before highlighting in a subsequent post-match press conference that two penalty decisions, a handball and a shove, had not been given.

"Generally we never get any penalties in the last seven, eight, nine games. We could have had five penalties in the last few games but I knew they were not going to give us any penalties."

Fandi reiterated that he felt 'justice was not done' and had the right decisions been made not only would it have 'opened up the floodgates' but it would also have given his team the chance to get all three points.

"Definitely. definitely, there's no two ways about it," said Fandi when asked if the LionsXII would have won the game otherwise.

"That was clear (penalty) and he (the referee) was about to blow the whistle but then he decided not to,
so it's very sad for us."

Sime Darby coach Ismail Zakaria on the other hand was quick to credit the LionsXII stating that his side had been 'lucky' to win the game.

"I know it is not easy to beat the Lions at home, artificial grass, actually our plan is to get a compact game going, to be more defensive," said Ismail in the post-match interview. "We got lucky tonight, we got the goal before Singapore (LionsXII). If you see, throughout the game, it was controlled by the Lions, they tried again and again to get a goal."

Ismail also stated that the LionsXII's chances of retaining the title were not out reach but the lack of a proper striker had let them down.

"They have a group of boys with discipline and character," said the Sime Darby coach about the LionsXII. "But the only thing is they can't finish, they don’t have a striker."

"You believe me, next game, any team they (LionsXII meet they will beat them."

Fandi, who is believed to have called an early Sunday morning training session for the LionsXII after the fallout from Saturday's result, stated that he will not be filing an official complaint about the referee.

"No point complaining because they're all the same," said the 51-year-old. "I'm very disappointed about the referee. So bad, this is the first time I'm telling you. This is very sad for football actually."

"It's ok, but we will prepare well this time [against Pahang FA] hopefully we'll have a better referee."