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The LionsXII centre-back was penalised for handball despite the ball striking his chest with the score at 2-1, allowing Johor Darul Takzim to equalise and go on to win the game

The LionsXII were the victim of a poor refereeing decision on Tuesday night in their Malaysia Super League game against Johor Darul Takzim (JDT), who could count themselves fortunate to earn a crucial penalty.

With the hosts leading 2-1 at Jalan Besar Stadium on 54 minutes, centre-back Afiq Yunos was adjudged to have handled the ball after getting in the way of Jorge Diaz's knockdown to Luciano Figueroa. Referee Nazmi Nasarudin immediately pointed to the spot and booked Afiq as well, despite being some distance away.

While goalkeeper Izwan Mahbud saved Figueroa's spot-kick, he was helpless to prevent the Argentinian from smashing in the rebound and draw JDT level. The visitors went on to score a third to emerge 3-2 winners and Afiq expressed his disappointment at the game-changing decision.

"It’s a very clean chest [of the ball] from me and we now have the evidence of the picture also," he said after the game, before whipping out his phone to show reporters an image of the ball hitting his chest squarely.

"From the back, how can he (the referee) see? But he keep telling me 'I saw that' so what can I do? It’s the referee’s decision."

To add insult to injury, the yellow card he received also ruled Afiq out for the next game at home against ATM FA, further frustrating the 23-year-old.

"It’s a very decent thing I was doing and I get a yellow card for that and I get suspended for the next game," he continued. "And I really did nothing; I really don’t know what to say."

The defeat leaves the defending champions in eighth place with six games left to go. The LionsXII next face ATM on Saturday at Jalan Besar.

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