KOTA BARU: Controversy raged in Kelantan when the referee amazingly blew for a late goal by the home side, disallowed it after protests only to reinstate the goal and then disallow it again. And Perlis returned home with a 2-2 draw at the Sultan Mohamed IV Stadium in Kota Baru yesterday.
To add to the intrigue, Perlis only knew the final score more than two hours later.
Referee Danny Ong Kim Heng was the man at the centre of controversy. The match was tied at 2-2 when he first blew for the goal after Kelantan striker Mohamed Hardi Ahmad had hit the target deep into stoppage time. The referee reversed his decision after assistant referee Saat Hassan signalled that Hardi was offside.
The Kelantan players protested that there had been a player in the area and the goal was legitimate. Danny again consulted his assistants, and after deliberations, awarded Kelantan the goal again.
This time, the Perlis players also staged a protest, and Danny reversed his decision again, cancelling the goal. The controversy raged on and finally, it was left to the match commissioner Ismail Yaakob to announce the 2-2 result after a two-hour meeting with the match officials which ended at 9pm.
The match had ended at 6.45pm.
Perlis coach Norizan Bakar, who did not want to comment on the controversy, said the 2-2 final score was a fair result.
“My boys were lethargic. They fought back from two goals down and that is a good result for my team. But I am surprised that this is the first time in my football experience we had to wait more than two hours after the final whistle to confirm the final score of a game,” said Norizan.
The home team had raced to a 2-0 lead with all the action taking place in the second-half.
Khairulzal Azmie put his team ahead in the 47th minute before Hardi increased the lead in the 59th minute.
The Northern Lions clawed back from two goals down with Zambian hitman Phillimon Chepita scoring a brace in the 60th and 69th minutes.
Then, came the controversy deep in stoppage time.