Monday, 10 December 2012
Misunderstanding led to dismissal: Schafer
Kuala Lumpur – Thailand coach Winfried Schafer has said that the incident that resulted in him being sent to the stands in the closing minutes of his side’s 1-1 draw against Malaysia in the first leg of their AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final on Sunday resulted from a misunderstanding with the officials.
Schafer was an animated figure on the touchline throughout the match at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium and he had received an earlier warning from Iranian referee Mohsen Torki before he was sent to the stands with nine minutes left after he appeared to protest too vehemently following a foul that had been awarded against his side in a dangerous position just outside their penalty box.
The German will now be banned from the touchline for the return game against the defending champions in Bangkok on Thursday but he explained to the media that he had been criticising one of his own players, Chonlatit Jantakam, and not the referee during the incident that led to his dismissal.
“I think you saw the mistake that Chon (Chonlatit) made when he tried to pass the ball to Mai (Panupong Wongsa). It was a very difficult pass and it gave Malaysia a big chance,” he explained.
“I was trying to tell Chon to concentrate and then the fourth official spoke to the referee, thinking that I was directing the criticism at him.
“But what happened with the referee is not important to me. What was important was that Chon tried to play a very difficult pass to Mai and he lost the ball and it gave Malaysia a big chance to score just after we had made it 1-1. I had to let Chon know how I felt about the bad pass so hopefully, his next pass would be better.
“There was nothing that I said against the referee. Why would I want to criticise the referee? He was a good referee and he had a difficult job with 80,000 people at the stadium making their displeasure known every time he made a decision against Malaysia. It was not easy for him.”
While he was clearly unhappy at his dismissal, Schafer was pleased with the performance of his side as they improved in the match after a poor start with Teerasil Dangda’s fourth goal of the tournament in the 79th minute cancelling out Norshahrul Idlan Talaha’s opener for Malaysia.
“The first half was not good for us. We did not play well and we kept losing the ball in midfield and we had difficulty dealing with the long balls of Malaysia,” said the German.
“After we fell 1-0 behind, we played much better. We were pressing better and to get the score back to 1-1 was fantastic.
“But after that we had the same problems dealing with their 50-metre balls and getting to the second ball but that’s okay because the result was okay for us especially in the atmosphere tonight when we had 80,000 to 90,000 people cheering against us.
“It is difficult to play in front of such a big crowd especially when you go behind 1-0, so I am happy that we played well and that we had so many chances to change the match.
“It will be a difficult situation for me as I will not be on the bench for the game in Bangkok but we have a better chance to win this semi-final now.”