Monday, 2 June 2014 | MYT 8:50 PM
Ref blunder costs Penang final spot
Penang's players looking crestfallen after losing to Perak in the semi-finals. - IZZRAFIQ ALIAS / The Star
KANGAR: Penang were robbed of a place in the men’s hockey final due to an umpiring blunder in the semi-final match against Perak at the State Sports Complex Turf.
The match on Monday had to be decided on a penalty shootout after both teams failed to break the 2-2 deadlock in regulation time.
Perak took the lead through Mohd Soffian Kamaruddin in the 11th minute but Penang fought back to score two goals through Abdul Rauf Mohd Nazri (28th) and Jamil Johari Ghazali (35th) to take a 2-1 lead.
But Perak equalised in the 42nd minute off a field goal by Azril Misron, who is the younger brother of national skipper Azlan, who is currently at the World Cup in The Hague, Holland.
In the penalty shootout, both the teams were tied at 3-3 and the winner had to be decided on sudden death.
Penang’s Mohd Hafiizhuddin Zaidi beat goalkeeper Mohd Fahmi Azaharuddin and scored the goal.
But, instead of blowing his whistle for the goal, umpire K. Lingam called for a penalty stroke because keeper Fahmi had created a fault. And this time, Haffiizhuddin flicked the ball wide.
Mohd Ashran Hamsani was the hero for Perak. He netted the sudden death goal to give the silver state a 4-3 win in the shootout.
Penang coach Bob Rajendran was obviously annoyed with Lingam for the blunder.
“I was shocked with the umpire’s decision as he did not play the advantage as the fault was created by the Perak keeper.
“We were robbed of a place in the final because of the error by the umpire,” said Bob.
Perak will face Negri Sembilan in the men’s hockey final at 4.30pm on Tuesday.
In the other semi-final match, Negri edged defending champions Terengganu 2-1. T. Ganeisha gave Negri the lead in the 4th minute off a penalty corner.
Terengganu equalised five minutes later through Mohd Khairul Anuar Zakaria. Mohd Ikwan Ishak was the hero after he netted the winner for Negri in the 45th minute.