Australia Aussies slam ref after World Cup penalty blow

The Socceroos remain in the box seat ahead of Tuesday's second leg in Sydney, where the eventual winner will go into a final play-off with the CONCACAF federation's fourth-placed team.

  • Published:
An 85th-minute equaliser by Syria's Omar al-Soma (top) raised harrowing memories of the 1997 play-offs, when Australia drew 1-1 with Iran in Tehran but were held 2-2 at home to go out on away goals play

An 85th-minute equaliser by Syria's Omar al-Soma (top) raised harrowing memories of the 1997 play-offs, when Australia drew 1-1 with Iran in Tehran but were held 2-2 at home to go out on away goals

(AFP)
24/7 Live - Subscribe to the Pulse Newsletter!

Australian players and media slammed the referee after Syria's controversial late penalty dented their hopes of reaching next year's World Cup following a 1-1 play-off draw in Malacca.

The Socceroos remain in the box seat ahead of Tuesday's second leg in Sydney, where the eventual winner will go into a final play-off with the CONCACAF federation's fourth-placed team.

But Omar al-Soma's 85th-minute equaliser raised harrowing memories of the 1997 play-offs, when Australia drew 1-1 with Iran in Tehran but were held 2-2 at home to go out on away goals.

Forward Robbie Kruse even claimed Iranian referee Alireza Faghani -- who farcically gave him a yellow card when he went down with a serious injury in the 2015 Asian Cup final -- was itching to give the penalty.

Australia's football coach Ange Postecoglou Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou said he was 'bemused' by the referee's decision play

Australia's football coach Ange Postecoglou Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou said he was 'bemused' by the referee's decision

(AFP)

Australia were 1-0 up after Kruse's first-half goal but the crucial moment came when Mathew Leckie made contact with al-Soma in the box as they both went up for a header.

"It was evident to everyone it wasn't a penalty," Kruse told Australian media, adding: "You expect that from this referee, we've had him before.

"I think he wanted to give it as soon as he made contact."

Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou said he was "bemused" by the decision, while Leckie called it "very poor".

"It wasn't like I (made) body contact and tried to put him off, I actually won the header. I don't know what went through the ref's mind to give a penalty," Leckie said.

"Everyone's pissed off about the whole situation because I think everyone in the world that watched the game knows it wasn't a penalty."

Under the pump

The Herald Sun said Australia were "robbed" of victory, while one Fox Sports columnist questioned the wisdom of using a referee from Iran, which has close ties with Syria.

Australia's Robbie Kruse (R) said Iranian referee Alireza Faghani -- who farcically gave him a yellow card when he went down with a serious injury in the 2015 Asian Cup final -- was itching to give the penalty play

Australia's Robbie Kruse (R) said Iranian referee Alireza Faghani -- who farcically gave him a yellow card when he went down with a serious injury in the 2015 Asian Cup final -- was itching to give the penalty

(AFP)

More worryingly for Australia, they were under the pump for much of the second half, when Soma had a header deflected on to the post and Omar Khribin saw a free kick flash just wide.

Postecoglou said his team had struggled with Malaysia's hot and humid conditions but that it would be a different story in Sydney, when he can call on a number of fresh players.

"We want to play really high-tempo and really go at them and test them," Postecoglou said, adding: "We won't make tactical changes but we've got some players that didn't play tonight who are in good form and good condition.

Australia's coach Ange Postecoglou said his team had struggled with Malaysia's hot and humid conditions play

Australia's coach Ange Postecoglou said his team had struggled with Malaysia's hot and humid conditions

(AFP)

"We'll make some changes to the XI. When we're at home we want to attack aggressively. They've got to score a goal, they've got to open up a little bit at some point. We'll make sure we take advantage of that."

Australia, who joined the Asian Football Confederation in 2006, are attempting to reach their fourth straight World Cup and fifth overall.

Syria are striving to make their World Cup debut after a fairytale qualifying run that has defied the raging civil war in their home country.

Do you ever witness news or have a story that should be featured on Pulse Ghana?
Submit your stories, pictures and videos to us now via WhatsApp: +233507713497, Social Media @pulseghana: #PulseEyewitness & DM or Email: eyewitness@pulse.com.gh.

Recommended Articles

Recommended Videos





Top Articles

1 Baby Jet A photo story of Asamoah Gyan through the years as he turns 32bullet
2 Black Stars Divorce from my wife made me stronger – John Mensahbullet
3 Ghana Premier League Kwame Kizito begs Hearts of Oak to let him go...bullet
4 Legendary 5 great football players who retired in 2017bullet
5 Ghana or Newcastle? Who’s to blame for Christian Atsu’s injury?...bullet
6 Ghanaian Players Abroad Goalkeeper Razak Brimah welcomes...bullet
7 World Cup 2018 Nigerian players reject bonus structure...bullet
8 Let Me Die! How Countryman Songo mourned KABA in the...bullet
9 Business-Minded Players Asamoah Gyan and 6 other...bullet
10 Messi Rakitic sure football legend will stay at Barcelonabullet

Top Videos

1 Asamoah Gyan Gyan to Real Madridbullet
2 Video Andre Ayew’s screamer wins Premier League Goal for Octoberbullet
3 John Mensah Divorce from my wife made me stronger - John Mensahbullet
4 Video Highlights of former Ghana and Ajax midfielder who passed awaybullet
5 Video This sumptuous Ayew’s goal nominated for goal of the month...bullet
6 Messi Lionel Messi's hat-trick sends Argentina to Russiabullet
7 Video Ghanaians will forever love Junior Agogo for this goalbullet
8 Video Watch former Kotoko's youngster's hat-trick for...bullet
9 Video Watch Thomas Partey's goal against Elchebullet
10 Video Top 15 greatest Floyd Mayweather knockoutsbullet

Football