KOTA KINABALU: Penang-based Sabah fans are crying foul over poor refereeing that not only cost their beloved team a chance of snatching at least one point, but their title and promotion bid are also in tatters.
The fans claimed Sabah were robbed of a point or points by the man in black.
“The referee made some dubious decisions which were all against Sabah. The sending off of Bobby (Gonzales) is also a big question mark.
“Sabah also had one goal disallowed, and we the fans were wondering why it was disallowed,” said a representative for the fans, who only wished to be identified as Mohd.
“The goal that was disallowed was through a freekick. If it is an indirect free kick it is still a goal, as to my understanding as long as the ball touches any player before it goes into the net it is considered a goal. In this case, the goalkeeper did make contact with the ball before it went into the back of the net, and therefore it is a genuine goal for Sabah,” said Mohd, who is one of the Penang-based Sabah fans.
Most of these Penang-based fans are pursuing their studies at the Universiti Sains Malaysia.
Mohd in a telephone interview added that if this poor refereeing continues, more and more fans will shy away from the game.
“All the fans want is fairness. So we hope the Sabah FA will make or take appropriate action and report the whole incident to the FAM(FA of Malaysia).
Meanwhile, the Sabah FA when contacted said they will oblige to the call and that they will lodge an official report to the FAM.
“We will be writing a report and will be submitting it to the FAMsoon. We are also contemplating on making a formal complaint against the match official. But before doing so, we would like to get evidence. So we are now trying to get a copy of a video of the game,” said the FA’s spokesman who prefers anonymity.
In the game, Sabah were forced to play with 10 men after the expulsion of striker Bobby Gonzales who was given the marching orders after just seven minutes into the game for allegedly swearing at the match official.
Despite that, according to Sabah coach and manager Gary Phillips they gave enough effort to at least settle for a draw.
However, they eventually went down 0-1 after USM FC, capitalising on Sabah’s mistake at the backline, nodded home the winner towards the end of the game.
The defeat has rattled Sabah’s hopes of winning their first silverware in more than a decade as now they need big favours from Harimau Muda and Armed Forces to beat league leaders KL Felda United in their remaining matches.
Sabah are also praying that second placed Selangor PKNS will drop points in their remaining games where they will be facing Shahzan Muda on Friday before concluding their challenge at home to Harimau Muda.
Felda are leading the pack on 46 points, four ahead of PKNS and Sabah, who are separated by goal difference.
Sabah take on Melaka at the Likas Stadium on Friday before playing away to KL Pos Malaysia in their final league game of the season.