Thailand U-22’s defender Jonathan Khemdee claimed the referee made many mistakes that resulted in tension between players of both teams, leading to ugly brawls in the SEA Games 32 men’s football final.
Violence broke out twice during the final between Thailand and Indonesia at the Olympic Stadium Tuesday night, especially after Indonesian striker Irfan Jauhari scored to give his team a 3-2 lead at the beginning of extra time.
Jauhari provoked extreme reactions from Thailand’s bench by directing his celebration at them, starting a violent clash between the two teams that ended with five red cards for both sides’ players and coaching staff.
“The referee made a lot of mistakes, and that is the reason for the fights,” Khemdee told VnExpress. “The referee was unable to control the game, and then everyone started fighting.”
According to the Danish-born defender, the referee’s biggest mistake was in Indonesia’s second goal.
In the fifth added minute of the first half, Omani referee Kassem Matar Al-Hatmi stopped the game when an Indonesian player was injured, and the ball was under neither team’s control.
However, when play resumed, the referee handed the ball to Indonesian captain Rizky Ridho, and the Thai players were ordered not to contest the ball. Ridho whipped the ball towards Thailand’s penalty area, allowing striker Ramadhan Sananta to seize the opportunity and chip goalkeeper Soponwit Rakyart to make it 2-0.
The Thai players appealed to the referee as they thought Ridho should have returned the ball to Thailand, but referee Al-Hatmi still allowed the goal to stand after consulting the linesman.
“There must be the fair-play spirit in football,” said Khemdee. “I’m disappointed because that goal was a huge mistake from the referee.”
At the end of the second half, the Indonesian coaching staff rushed into the pitch to celebrate when they mistook the referee’s whistle to award Thailand a freekick for the full-time whistle.
Thailand immediately scored from the ensuing freekick to equalize, then ran to Indonesia’s technical area to celebrate provocatively, leading to a scuffle.
Indonesia responded with Jauhari’s celebration in front of the Thai bench after scoring within the first few minutes of extra time. The clash after caused a long delay to the match and resulted in a series of red cards.
After play continued, two more Thai players, including Khemdee, were sent off after receiving a second yellow. Thailand then completely lost control of the match, conceding two more goals to lose 5-2.
The 21-year-old defender was disappointed that spectators had to witness such shameful scenes. Having played in Europe, Khemdee said the biggest difference is that the refereeing in Southeast Asia is not good enough.
“The referee has no control over this game,” he said. “Referees must remain fair in all circumstances, but the referees of this match couldn’t do that.”
Before the final, Khemdee had announced that he would take a break from the Thai national team for a while to focus on playing for his current club – Ratchaburi FC.
The defeat means Thailand have missed out on the men’s football gold medal for three consecutive SEA Games, losing to Vietnam in the final of the two previous editions.Thai defender blames referee for SEA Games football final chaos Thái Lan 2-5 Indonesia