Dollah hits out at Myanmar 'actors'
Dollah Salleh could be forgiven for thinking he was watching a movie instead of a football match yesterday.
The Malaysia coach did not mince his words at the post-match press conference of the 0-0 draw at the Jalan Besar Stadium yesterday. He accused the Myanmar players of play-acting in getting midfielder Gary Robbat sent off in the 35th minute after picking up a second yellow card.
Apart from the sending-off, Dollah was also unhappy with Turkmenistan referee Kurbanov Charymurat for turning down a number of penalty appeals from his team and insisted that his side were unfairly denied what could have been an opening victory.
"I'm sorry to say this, but I'm not sure if the Myanmar players are actors," said Dollah sarcastically.
"They reacted to every challenge and made sure we had a player (Robbat) shown a second yellow card.
"As for the penalty shouts, I cannot say for sure, but I think they should have been awarded.
"Still, I'm very proud of my players as they gave 100 per cent and managed to get the draw, but I think we should have won the three points."
Malaysia made a strong start to the match when Amri Yahyah slotted home after just six minutes, only for the strike to be ruled out for offside.
Myanmar, coached by former Lions trainer Radojko Avramovic, showed plenty of endeavour early, but were largely restricted to long-range strikes which failed to trouble Khairul Fahmi in the Malaysia goal.
The first big talking point of the match came in the 35th minute when Robbat, already on a yellow card and having just been warned for angrily confronting an opponent after being fouled, tripped Kyi Lin from behind and was issued his marching orders by the referee.
Despite being one man down, Malaysia continued to threaten with Amri and Mahali Jasuli having excellent free-kick attempts denied by Thiha Sithu just before the break.
They had two penalty shouts in the second half waved away by the referee when first, S Kunanlan pounced on a poor clearance by Khin Maung Lwin in the 55th minute and burst into the box.
He appeared to go down under David Htan's challenge, only for the referee to wave play on. Three minutes later, it was Norshahrul Idlan Talaha's turn to be felled inside the box as he tried to get on the end of Shukor Adan's lofted pass but the referee was unmoved again.
Fatigue caught up with Malaysia as the White Angels piled on the pressure. But they were unable to find a way past Fahmi, who produced a string of fine stops with the pick of the bunch coming in the 67th minute when he made a double save to deny both Min Min Thu and Nanda Lin Kyaw Chit.
In the end, both sides were left to settle for a share of the spoils and Myanmar coach Avramovic was satisfied with the draw.
"We came up against a strong and experienced team, so I'm happy with the team's performance," said Avramovic.
"Perhaps we could have showed more composure and should have been more clinical inside the box but, overall, I think we had a good game.
"Hopefully, that will continue in our next game against Singapore."
- The writer is a freelancer.