Malaysia to file complaint against referee in Vietnam match

By Hieu Luong   December 29, 2022 | 12:56 am PT
Malaysia to file complaint against referee in Vietnam match
Malaysia players (in yellow) question referee Ryuji Sato (in blue) during an AFF Cup game with Vietnam in Hanoi on December 27, 2022. Photo by VnExpress/Hieu Luong
Malaysia will file a complaint to the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) about the decisions that Japanese referee Ryuji Sato made in their 0-3 AFF Cup loss to Vietnam.

Noor Azman Rahman, general secretary of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), said the country's refereeing committee is reviewing the match details before sending an official dispatch to the AFF.

"The committee will complete the review report as soon as possible, hopefully we will send the letter before Friday," Rahman told Malaysian newspaper The Vibes on Wednesday.

Referee Sato angered Malaysia fans when he gave a straight red card to Azam Azmi for hitting Doan Van Hau outside the pitch in the 59th minute of the game on Tuesday. They were also upset when he awarded Vietnam a penalty kick, which Que Ngoc Hai scored to double the lead for the host to 2-0.

Sato is also said to have ignored two fouls by Vietnamese wing-back Doan Van Hau against Malaysian players. In the 16th minute, when goalkeeper Dang Van Lam was slow to catch the ball, Hau allegedly elbowed Azmi to prevent him from entering the box. The elbow injured Azmi and the medical team had to help him. At the end of the first half, Hau gave another elbow to the face of midfielder Sharul Nazeem in an unnecessary challenge. The Malaysia player got angry and responded by shoving Hau, leading to a dispute between the two teams. In both fouls, Hau did not get booked and only received warnings from Sato.

In this match, referee Sato gave a second yellow card to Nguyen Van Toan in the 33rd minute, sending him off the field. However, Malaysia failed to take advantage of having more men on the field to score a goal.

Sato, 45, has been a FIFA referee since 2009. He used to referee in the 2014 V. League, and many matches of Vietnam’s national football team. He is an experienced and reputable referee and has worked at major tournaments such as the Asian Cup and the U20 World Cup.

When Vietnam beat Malaysia in the second round of World Cup qualifier in June 2021, Sato was also the referee. He was heavily criticized by Malaysian fans when he awarded Vietnam a penalty kick in the 80th minute, helping Vietnam win 2-1.

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