JOHOR BARU: Sarawak referee Saadon Mohamed, who was to have officiated the Johor-Perak TKN match at the Larkin Stadium on Sunday failed to turn up at the Tropical Inn, the hotel where the match officials were staying.
The FA of Malaysia (FAM) were forced to call up Ibrahim Mohamed as the assistant referee I for the match – taking over the place of Awaluddin Hassan of Selangor who was moved up as the match referee. The assistant referee II for the match was M. Alugarajan of Malacca.
Ibrahim, from Malacca was informed by FAM at 5.15pm to proceed to Johor for the match, arrived at the Larkin Stadium minutes before the kickoff, forcing the match to be delayed by 20 minutes.
According to match inspector VKS Sinniya, a former FIFA referee, the FAM were informed by one of the assistant referees about Saadon's absence after he failed to check into the hotel.
On the field, Johor the Premier II leaders, had a poor day and played their worst game of the season. The Scorpions, who won the first round of the league to pocket the RM20,000 cash incentive from the FAM, struggled throughout the match against the visitors.
Fortunately for Johor, Lady Luck smiled on them as they walked off with full points – thanks to an own goal by Perak TKN defender A. Albert Anthony deep into injury time.
Albert sent the ball into the net while trying to cut off a cross by a Johor player from the right.
Until then TKN goalkeeper Azlan Mohd Salleh refused to be beaten and made some brilliant saves.
Johor's lucky win in their first match in the second round, came in the wake of their 1-1 draw against Kelantan SKMK in Kota Baru last week which completed their first round fixtures.
The win kept Johor at the top of the 13-team league with 29 points – four points more than nearest rivals Negri Sembilan who are second in the table with 25 points.