Grabovac rues ref's decision not to award penalty
Warriors coach rues ref's decision not to award spot-kick as Albirex stay perfect
Warriors FC coach Mirko Grabovac was dejected after his side's 2-1 loss to Albirex Niigata at Choa Chu Kang Stadium yesterday as he felt that they had been denied a clear penalty.
|WARRIORS FC||ALBIREX NIIGATA|
|(Jonathan Behe 79)||(Shuhei Hoshino 20, 71)|
Sahil Suhaimi's shot hit defender Shuhei Sasahara's extended arm in the penalty box one minute from time, prompting appeals for a spot-kick, which were refuted by the referee Ahmad A'Qashah.
His decision was met by an uproar on the sidelines and in the stands, but the match official stood firm.
Had the penalty been awarded and converted by the Warriors, there would have been a high chance that Albirex's winning streak could have been brought to an end.
Grabovac cut a disappointing figure in the post-match press conference, reiterating that it had not been the first time this season that decisions have gone against his side, bringing up a similar incident against Balestier Khalsa last month.
On the decision, the Croat said: "For me, I saw that it was a clear penalty. They (Albirex) are a good team and we gave them a good fight, played a good game and deserved to draw.
"For me, the referee part was a bit disappointing."
Meanwhile, the perfect run continues for Albirex, who have won all seven league games, putting them 11 points clear of second-placed Tampines Rovers.
But Albirex coach Kazuaki Yoshinaga insisted that his side still have room for improvement.
He said: "We are finished with today's game. We have two days in between so it's important that they get enough rest before the next game.
"Even if we win, there are improvements that we need to work on. This is a process that we'll keep repeating."
Shuhei Hoshino gave Albirex the lead in the 20th minute as he received Kenya Takahashi's low cross, turned smartly away from his marker Hafiz Sulaiman and crisply drilled the ball into the left corner of the net.
Albirex doubled their lead when Hoshino grabbed his second, nodding home a close-range effort from Hiroyoshi Kamata's cross in the 71st minute.
After several good chances throughout the game, the Warriors finally found the net in the 79th minute. Sahil's misfired shot fell nicely into Jonathan Behe's path, and the forward flicked the ball home to narrow the deficit.
Despite the loss, Grabovac praised his charges for their performance, adding that their first win is on the horizon.
The Warriors are seventh in the nine-team standings, with five draws and three losses.
He said: "You can slowly see the improvement. The points are coming. I'm sure that we're going to start to win games and I hope that we can catch up with (the other) teams soon because we showed that we can play good football."
LAST NIGHT'S OTHER RESULT
- Balestier Khalsa 1 Brunei DPMM 2
- Young Lions v Albirex Niigata (7.45pm, Jalan Besar Stadium)