BY NIK AFIQ Follow on Twitter
Benjamin Mora, the head coach of Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) quickly pointed to the referee as the cause of their exit from the FA Cup, after losing 4-3 on aggregate to Pahang.
The defending champions lost 3-1 in the first leg but despite their attempt to make a comeback, their 2-1 second leg win at Larkin was not enough to put them through to the semi-finals.
Commenting on the game in the post-match interview with the match broadcaster, Mora straight away blamed the referee for the defeat, as he believed that JDT should have been given at least two penalties during the game.
“You cannot fight with a team that wanted to win, against the referees. There were two clear fouls. We didn’t get the first one. But the second was as clear as blue sky.”
“I never talked about referees. I respect them but today, it was clear that we should have received two penalties. For me it was a very bad call and it affected the game."
Mora however praised his team for a good overall performance and admitted that the poor decisions by the referee have brought down the team’s spirit .
“That (referee’s decision) brought our spirit down but the players fought all the way throughout the whole game.”
“If we play like this every single game, we are going to win the league. We pressed, we won all challenges and the second balls, we scored quickly and were unlucky that we didn’t score the third goal,” added Mora.
Mora however later stated that he took full responsibility for the defeat, as they did not take their chances during the first leg and the player had given their 100% in the tie.
“Whatever it is, I’m responsible and I think the players gave 100% but it is our fault because when we went for the away game we didn’t take full advantage for that. At the end of the day, it is our fault,” he was quoted as saying by the JDT social media
JDT looked to turn the tie around when Argentinians Gabriel Guerra and Gonzalo Cabrerra scored in the first 20 minutes for the home side.
However, the Southern Tigers failed to hold on and a late header by Pahang’s Mohamadou Soumareh gave the visitors a vital goal that put the Elephants through to the semi-finals of the FA Cup.
Pahang will continue in the tournament, against Negeri Sembilan while the other semi-final will see Malaysia Cup champions Kedah going up against Premier League side Terengganu.