Indonesia to file complaint against referee after losing to Qatar in U23 Asian Cup

By Lam Thoa   April 16, 2024 | 06:09 am PT
Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) president, billionaire Erick Thohir, said it will file a complaint against referee Nasrullo Kabirov's calls in Indonesia's 0-2 defeat to Qatar at the 2024 U23 Asian Cup.

"We will send a letter to the Asian Football Confederation to oppose some of the referee's decisions in the match against Qatar," Indonesian newspaper Bola quoted Thohir on Tuesday.

In the opening match of group A at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium on Monday, referee Kabirov made many calls that led to disadvantages for Indonesia. In the 42nd minute, he awarded a penalty to Qatar after consulting VAR, even though he had previously decided that captain Rizky Ridho did not make a foul. Khalid Ali Sabah scored the opening goal for Qatar.

At the start of the second half, the Tajik referee sent Ivan Jenner of in an unclear play. In the fifth minute of injury time, he gave Ramadhan Sananta a red card, although before checking VAR, he only gave a yellow.

Indonesia side has accused Kabirov of putting the host in advantage as he only gave a yellow card to Saifeldeen Hassan even though he made a tackle from behind and ignored the play where Marselino Ferdinand was pushed down in the box of Qatar.

Referee Nasrullo Kabirov received heavy criticism from Indonesian fans after the 0-2 defeat to host Qatar on April 15, 2024. Photo by AFC

Referee Nasrullo Kabirov in Indonesia's 0-2 defeat to host Qatar at the U23 Asian Cup on April 15, 2024. Photo by AFC

After the match, coach Shin Tae-yong was angry, saying that the referee’s calls in the match were "comedic". He even hinted that this match was planned to help Qatar win. Indonesian fans also attacked Kabirov’s Instagram and the account of the Tajikistan Football Federation with abuse.

Member of the PSSI Executive Committee Arya Sinulingga also publicly criticized Kabirov and said that they should "give the title to Qatar right now."

After losing to Qatar, Indonesia fell to the bottom of group A. In the second game on April 18, they will meet Australia, who drew 0-0 with Jordan in the opening match.

According to Thohir, the opportunity to advance to the next round is still with Indonesia.

"Thank you for fighting with all your strength and heart. Don't be discouraged. This is not the end. Stay focused and give your best in the next two matches," he told the team.

This is the first time Indonesia have participated in the U23 Asian Cup. The tournament this year in Qatar has 16 teams and is considered an Asian qualifier for the 2024 Paris Olympics. The top three teams will go to France and the fourth-placed team will face an African team in the playoff for the remaining slot.

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