Fandi laments 'soft' penalty decision in Terengganu loss

The LionsXII coach was disappointed with the decision that led to Terengganu's winner against his team in their 2-1 defeat, but was pleased with his boys’ efforts nonetheless
LionsXII coach Fandi Ahmad was critical of the decision to award Terengganu FA a penalty in his side’s 2-1 defeat against the Turtles on Saturday evening.

Khairul Amri gave the LionsXII an early lead with his header in the eighth minute, but the hosts rallied and equalised almost immediately thanks to Javier Estupinan’s free header from a corner.

Estupinan then earned his side a penalty in the second half amidst rather controversial circumstances. There was suspicion of him being offside when he received the ball from Dabo and he fell after the slightest of touches by LionsXII custodian Izwan Mahbud. Turtles captain Zairo Anuar sent Izwan the wrong way for what proved to be the winner.

“I’m just a bit disappointed with some of the calls from the referee,” Fandi said after the match. “Obviously that was a very, very soft penalty. What to do?”

Still, the Singapore legend was proud of his boys’ performances despite the defeat, in particular the returning Baihakki Khaizan and captain Safuwan Baharudin, who was deployed in an advanced role.

“We played superbly today, this is one of our best away games,” he said.

“We can’t take credit away from them (Terengganu), they also did very well, they worked hard. But our boys showed the fighting spirit and determination. We could have scored three goals in the first half but that’s football. You work very hard but sometimes it doesn’t give you the win you want.

“But I’m very, very happy with the performance. We gave our all, we made things difficult for them. I thought Baihakki was solid today, he was holding the defence. Safuwan in midfield was very, very good and determined even though he was whacked and hacked every time.”

The defeat means that the LionsXII are languishing in eight position in the league, 13 points behind league leaders Selangor FA.

The Singapore outfit will now prepare for their showdown with Johor Darul Takzim at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Tuesday.