Coach Ong felt that the penalty decision was the turning point in the game and felt hard done by the referee's decision not to award his team a spot-kick
“It is unfair for me to judge now and I have to look at the [video] clip. I think there is genuine contact. And that was the turning point.”
He was also critical of youngster Syazwan Tajudin who was held culpable for two goals that were conceded by the home team. He had harsh words for his player and hoped Syazwan would learn from this experience and improve his future performances.
“Two mistakes, one from penalty and one from free kick by the same defender that cost us the goals. For me this is a mistake done by a new player that I got in. But for him (Syazwan) to have done that, he has to buck up.
“We cannot afford to do this during our important games, especially in the qualifiers so if he doesn’t learn anymore then he has to stop there. It is as simple as that. There will not be chances and chances and chances.”
Magnanimous in defeat, Ong Kim Swee lauded his opponents and believed the match highlighted the gulf in experience between both teams.
“They are experienced. They take their chances well. They move the ball very well and they know how to handle situations very well. You can see [the difference] between adults and boys.
“The back four played very well. They are very organized and made it really difficult for us to penetrate.
“These boys can play but they must know how to control the situation. Look at Tampines, they did not panic when they were down.”
He also felt his team lacked the creative spark that some of his absentees would have been able to provide.
“Definitely, if Gary, Irfan and Nazmi were there, we would do much better because we need someone who is very creative.”
He also shared with goal.com Singapore that talks about Wan Zack Haikal’s and Wan Zaharulnizam future are in the latter stages of discussion and youngster Nazmi Faiz’s departure was scheduled for later tonight.
“I cannot reveal anything at the moment. Definitely there are talks going on but there is no confirmation yet. The talks were done a long time ago but there are minor things that we need to finalise.
“Nazmi will be leaving later at 11.30 for Porto. He will be there for a week and he will join us from there for our European Tour.
He reiterated his believe that he would not stand in the way of players who have offers to play in better leagues and that his job is to groom youngsters for the benefit of Malaysian football.
“The main reason we are in the league is to give exposure to the young boys and if they have better offers to play in better leagues, for me it is an opportunity for another player to come in and prove themselves.
“My job is to make sure that our players have enough playing time and exposure. And if I need to get more new players [in] I will register them when the window is open.”
Tampines Rovers team manager Zulkarnaen Zainal was amenable to the referee’s decision of not giving the penalty to Harimau Muda moments before getting a penalty of their own.
“Other referees might have given it but based on what I saw, he was waiting for the penalty and he went in and jumped."
He also praised his team for their resilience and said they the result will only lead on to greater things for his team.
“They want to win and they showed character after the loss in midweek. They want to show their fans that they are capable of winning the title. They knew that this was an important game.
“We will take one game at a time. The team will wake up after this”