Vietnam should not have the penalty though the red card for the Malaysian defender is reasonable at their Tuesday AFF Cup match, a Malaysian referee said.
Referee Subkhiddin Mohd Salleh, who has been a FIFA referee since 2000 before retirement in 2011, said he had carefully watched the video of the clash between Malaysian defender Azam Azmi and Vietnamese defender Doan Van Hau in the 59th minute of the game held in Hanoi.
He divided the situation into two phases: the first was Van Hau’s push that caused Azam Azmi to fall, and then the counter-attack of the Malaysian defender.
“When Azam Azmi struck back, the ball is still rolling, and therefore the referee can give Vietnam a penalty according to the rules,” referee Salleh said on Malaysian television channel Astro Arena.
“But in my opinion, the first thing that needs to be considered is Van Hau’s fault with the opponent, then Azam Azmi’s fault.”
He said if the referee thinks Azam Azmi retaliates against Hau, the Malaysian defender deserves a red card.
“However, the match should continue with a free-kick for Malaysia, not a penalty for Vietnam, because Van Hau pushed Azam Azmi down first.”
“The Malaysian defender struck back unnecessarily, but perhaps referee Ryuji Sat had ignored Hau’s fault,” Salleh said.
Salleh, 56, broke into the “AFC Elite” group, or Asia’s top referee in 2008.
He was on duty at the 2010 World Cup as the fourth referee and was the head referee at several matches of the Asian Cup 2011.
After retiring in 2011, Salleh worked as a FIFA referee instructor.
Japanese Ryuji Sato has been a FIFA referee since 2009. He used to be on duty at the Asian Cup, U20 World Cup and FIFA Arab Cup, or the championships of Australia, China or Paraguay.
During the match on Tuesday, referee Sato also gave Vietnamese attacker Van Toan a second yellow card in the first half and missed a few moments when Van Hau elbowed his opponent.
Despite playing with ten people, Vietnam won 3-0 to take the top of Group B.
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