Ex-Kelantan boss Steve Darby is finding it difficult to defend Rizal Ghazali after his sending-off during Malaysia’s Asian Cup qualifier against Hong Kong, claiming that there are no excuses for not understanding basic rules of the game.
The Kedah full-back was shown a second yellow card after re-entering the pitch without consent from the match official, having gone to the sidelines to nurse a minor knock, moments prior to that – something that Darby thinks should not happen under any given circumstances.
“It should not happen! Having seen the highlights, the player almost immediately realised he shouldn’t have come back on. There is no excuse for not knowing rules of the game. As a player, it’s your job. I don’t think the referee had a choice there. Always learn the rules of the game,” Steve told Stadium.MY
Malaysia went 0-1 down midway through the first half after Alessandro Leandro broke the deadlock for Hong Kong, but Nelo Vingada’s side did not take long to respond as Syazwan Zainon restored parity merely six minutes later.
While Rizal’s sending off on the 89th minute seemed to take a toll on Malaysia’s focus, Aidil Zafuan’s sending-off, deep into stoppage time, was the final straw.
Hafizul Hakim dramatically saved a spot-kick to keep the score 1-1, before Vingada and several Malaysian players attempted to confront the referee at full time. Fortunately, security officials swiftly surrounded the match officials, before escorting them out of the grounds.
“The game is about passion and feeling. Back in 1998, I was abusing a referee in a league match for Johor when my team manager whisoered in my ear: ‘Is it going to help us win? I don’t think so.’
“The reality is that we have to only do things that will help us win, when it comes to professional football. I don’t think the way Vingada and his players reacted at full time, whilst understandable, will help them win a football game,” Steve, who also had a spell with Perak between 2006 and 2008, added.