Rough night for ref

On the attack: Johor Darul Ta’zim’s Bergson (right) taking his chances against Terengganu’s Jordan Mintah during the first-leg semi-final Malaysia Cup match at the Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium in Kuala Terengganu. — Bernama

PETALING JAYA: It was supposed to be a stirring Malaysia Cup first leg semi-final clash between two of the best attacking sides in the country, unfortunately players and fans were let down by questionable officiating.

The match between hosts Terengganu and Johor Darul Ta’zim ended 1-1 but the spotlight fell on referee Tuan Mohd Yassin Tuan Mohd Hanafiah who was booed off the field at the Stadium Sultan Mizan Zainal Abidin Stadium, Kuala Terengganu on Monday.

Even Terengganu coach Nafuzi Zain was seen approaching the referee after the match. Nafuzi revealed during the post-match press conference that he voiced his displeasure about some of the decisions.

On social media, angry fans from both clubs chastised the ref for his failure to take control of the game.

They pointed out that several players escaped the red card despite making blatant fouls.

Even JDT owner, Tengku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim, shared his thoughts on Twitter.

“Agree. Ref was bad. For both teams. Go through all the games footage. This Ref, JDT against Kelantan Ref, Negri Sembilan against Sarawak Ref, all are equally bad.

“Tackles by teams in majority of the Super League games and Malaysia Cup are dangerous. We need Improvement. VAR is a must.”

Apart from the officiating, JDT are brimming with joy as they have a valuable away goal.

But coach Benjamin Mora said they would not rely on it too much.

“Our plan is simple. Come Friday, we’ll go for an early goal to get the upper hand.

“We will not change our style and will give Terengganu another good fight,” said the Mexican.

“The first leg wasn’t easy because we know their quality. In the first 15 minutes, we didn’t start well but slowly regrouped.

“The second half we played well and should have scored one more.”

When asked about the referee, Mora said: “It wasn’t an easy game in front of a fervent crowd. To me, the referee did a good job but some will like it, some will not.

“But I prefer talking about my team than the referees.”

His counterpart Nafuzi, meanwhile, admitted it would take a huge push for his charges to get a win at the Southern Tigers’ den.

“They have an away goal. In our case, we have to score and defend well... no ifs or buts. In terms of experience, they hold all the aces.

“Some of my boys are playing in this stage for the first time while we all know what JDT have achieved over the years.

“But I believe it will be an open game. We will attack, not just get a goal and then defend. I believe in my boys.”

But the Turtles still can’t shake off their injury problems that have bugged them this season.

They will be sweating on the fitness of Carli De Murga, who on Monday was making a return to side after picking up an injury.

The skipper had to be stretchered off the field after colliding with JDT striker Bergson in the 77th minute.

“He’s in hospital. The incident was a split second thing. Carli touched his chest when he fell, so he is being monitored.

“It’s unfortunate that he had to suffer another injury.”

With all to play for in the return leg, fans can look forward to a cracker of a match if the man in black plays his cards right.

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