Indonesian fans attack referee online after U23 Asian Cup defeat

By Lam Thoa   April 16, 2024 | 05:31 am PT
After Indonesia’s U23 Asian Cup coach Shin Tae-yong verbally berated referee Nasullo Kabirov following a 2-0 loss to Qatar, fans followed by flooding the referee's Instagram account with abuse.

An account believed to be Tajikistani referee Nasullo Kabirov’s was flooded with more than 200,000 comments from angry Indonesian football fans following the loss. Account @fluffy_berriesrd commented: "If you give him an envelope, the referee will immediately turn into a clown," while account @infokalteng.reborb sarcastically called Kabirov "Man of the Match."

Along with that were thousands of comments saying that the Asian Cup should simply be handed to host Qatar right away because they have money.

Fans also attacked the Instagram account of the Tajikistan Football Federation.

A screenshot of Indonesian fans criticizing referee Nasullo Kabirov for his calls in the U23 Asian Cup game with Qatar on April 15, 2024

A screenshot of Indonesian fans criticizing referee Nasullo Kabirov for his calls in the U23 Asian Cup game with Qatar on April 15, 2024.

In their first time participating in the U23 Asian Cup, Indonesia conceded a penalty and ended the match with nine men in the 2-0 loss to Qatar on Monday. After the match, coach Shin said that the Tajikistan referee’s calls were "comedic" with the intention to help Qatar win from the beginning.

In the game at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium, Kabirov called 23 fouls for Indonesia, more than twice as many as Qatar. In addition to a penalty and two red cards for the players, Kabirov also gave Shin a yellow card on the sidelines.

Indonesian newspaper Bola said that "the referee only focused on using VAR when Indonesia players committed fouls but ignored the system when Qatar players did the same."

The newspaper also listed a series of plays that Indonesian fans considered "problematic" such as the penalty in the 42nd minute, when captain Rizky Ridho made contact with Mahdi Al Mejaba in the box.

Initially, Kabirov gave Indonesia a free kick. But after receiving a signal from the VAR room, he reviewed the situation, gave Ridho a yellow and Qatar a penalty which was scored.

Bola also said that the second yellow card for Ivan Jenner was unreasonable. In the 46th minute, Jenner jumped and made contact with a Qatar player, but Kabirov said that he slightly touched the opponent with the bottom of his shoe, so a second yellow card was given, sending him off. In this play, Kabirov did not consult VAR.

Indonesia were also upset when Qatar's Saifeldeen Hassan only received a yellow card when he tackled Witan Sulaeman from the back. The referee initially gave him a red card but later changed it to yellow. Shin's angry reaction ensured he received a yellow card.

At the end of the match, Marselino Ferdinand was pushed down in the box, but the referee refused to give Indonesia a penalty.

This defeat against Qatar pushed Indonesia to the bottom of group A. In the second match on April 18, they will meet Australia, who drew 0-0 with Jordan in their opening match.

U23 Asian Cup 2024: Indonesia 0-2 Qatar

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