The Maldives suffered a heartbreaking defeat against South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship holders India, losing one-nil to an 86th minute Arnab Mondal goal.
Manager Istvan Urbanyi expressed his extreme disappointment with the way his team were knocked out of the tournament.
“India just tried to kill us in the first 40 minutes… They wanted to hurt which is a provocation. Every single time after 2-3 seconds they just made a tackle. And in the end Sentey (Ali Fasir) got a yellow card for nothing,” Maldivessoccer.com quoted Urbanyi as saying.
The winning goal came after a late corner kick fell kindly to Mondal, who rifled a shot past Maldives keeper Imran Mohamed.
Chaotic scenes accompanied the final whistle, as both Ali Umar and Mohammad Rasheed were dismissed after remonstrating with the referee. Maldivian players were particularly incensed after a 73rd minute penalty appeal from captain Ali Ashfaq was dismissed by the referee, who instead booked the tournament’s top scorer for simulation.
“It’s a penalty, I don’t care about anything it’s a penalty. If you watched the game live it’s a penalty,” said Urbanyi.
“Ashfaq got the ball at the right time, he touched the ball at the right time and the goalkeeper just came and he wanted to stop him. So the contact doesn’t have to be a huge one, it doesn’t have to break Ashfaq legs, if it’s just there and he doesn’t let him go through the normal way it’s a foul. Which is called penalty.”
India will go on to face Afghanistan in the final tomorrow.