Ahmad Shakir Ali (right) in a file photo. He has been sent off three times in 20 days, the last time being in Tuesday’s AFC Cup match against Ninh Binh FC of Vietnam. – Bernama Photo
PETALING JAYA: Temperamental Kelantan striker Ahmad Shakir Ali will pay for picking up three red cards in a row.
The 25-year-old Kedahan was sent off three times in the last 20 days, beginning with Kelantan’s 5-3 defeat in their AFC Cup Group G opening away match against Yangon United of Myanmar on Feb 26.
He was also sent off in the Super League away game against Lions XII at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore on March 8, which Kelantan won 2-1.
His latest sending off came in Tuesday’s AFC Cup home game against Ninh Binh FC of Vietnam at the Sultan Mohd IV Stadium in Kota Baru, which saw a nine-man Kelantan lose 2-3.
Kelantan coach Steve Darby said he had warned Shakir to keep his temper in check.
“After Shakir got red-carded a second time, I had a talk with him and told him that it would do no good for the team if a player gets sent off. His actions have now cost the team and I have no choice but to fine him,” said a disappointed Darby on Wednesday.
Shakir was given his marching orders in the 34th minute of Tuesday’s game for retaliation, the same offence which fellow striker Khairul Izuan Rosli committed and was sent off for in the 47th minute.
Ninh Binh striker Kavin Bryan of Jamaica had put the visitors ahead in the 23rd minute but Kelantan bounced back with goals from Nazri Ahmad and Khairul Izuan Rosli in the 37th and 44th minutes respectively.
Imports Tambwe Patiyo of Congo and Voinea Petrisor of Romania took advantage of nine-man Kelantan with goals in the 50th and 62nd minutes respectively.
Darby rested six of his regulars, who were fatigued, but the reserves did a good job to lead 2-1 despite being reduced to 10 men in the first-half.
“I was impressed with my boys for leading 2-1 at half-time. But when we were down to nine men ... it killed us,” said Darby, who will be hoping to field his best side against Selangor in their Super League match at the Shah Alam Stadium on Saturday.
He was forced to tinker with his line-up because his men had a hectic schedule – playing 14 matches in 42 days.
“That took its toll on the players. Selangor have the same problem because of our commitment in the AFC Cup competition,” he said.