VAR won, not Uzbekistan: Indonesian media

By Hoang An   April 29, 2024 | 07:46 pm PT
VAR won, not Uzbekistan: Indonesian media
The referee issued a red card to Indonesia's Rizky Ridho (number 5) for a dangerous tackle on a Uzbekistan player during the U23 Asian Cup semifinal on April 29, 2024. Photo courtesy of AFC
Indonesian media have criticized Thai VAR referee Sivakorn Pu-udom after the team lost 0-2 to Uzbekistan in the 2024 U23 Asian Cup semifinals.

"VAR won," newspaper Pojoksatu wrote after the match on Monday night, adding that VAR had created a series of decisions that disadvantaged Indonesia.

"Maybe without VAR and goal-line technology, Uzbekistan could not have won this match," the newspaper added. "VAR influenced the decisions of referee Shen Yinhao and the weaknesses of VAR became a topic of discussion after the match."

Sivakorn, 37, has 11 years of experience as a FIFA referee and was a VAR ref in five games at the 2023 Asian Cup earlier this year.

He was a VAR referee in Indonesia's 2-0 defeat to Qatar in the opening game of the 2024 U23 Asian Cup, where they conceded a penalty and defender Justin Hubner was sent off. Indonesia then decided to file a complaint against the referee team of that match.

Indonesian sports site ZQ Score wrote: "Even though Uzbekistan won 2-0, the focus of the match was on three controversial decisions by VAR. Indonesia failed not only because of their performance but also because of the instability in using VAR by the referees. There needs to be an in-depth assessment of VAR to ensure important matches like this become fairer."

CNN Indonesia pointed out the three controversial decisions caused by VAR in the match at Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium.

The first one was in the 27th minute, when midfielder Witan Sulaeman was tackled by defender Abdukodir Khusanov at the edge of Uzbekistan penalty area. Referee Shen initially gave a penalty for Indonesia, but VAR intervened and let the Chinese referee review the play on VAR.

After watching the replay, Shen not only canceled Indonesia’s penalty but also didn’t give them a freekick, as Khusanov was deemed to make a fair tackle.

The second play was the canceled goal of defender Muhammad Ferrari, when he smashed it into the net after Uzbekistan goalkeeper punched the ball out. VAR ruled that striker Ramadhan Sananta was offside, before going for the ball in the air with the goalkeeper.

The last one was the red card of defender Rizky Ridho. After clearing the ball, his foot followed the momentum and hit the sensitive area of midfielder Jasurbek Jaloliddinov, which was considered a dangerous foul. Thanks to VAR, Shen decided to send Ridho off with a straight red card.

"VAR referee Sivakorn made Indonesia lose three games. Is it because he was worried that Thailand have been surpassed by coach Shin Tae-yong and his players?" sports site Okezone wrote.

Uzbekistan had 28 shots, seven times more than Indonesia in this game. Shin Tae-yong's team didn’t have a single shot on target, excluding Ferrari's offside goal.

The victory on Monday helped Uzbekistan qualify for Olympic men's football for the first time, while Indonesia must win the third-place playoff against Iraq to qualify, otherwise they will have another playoff with African team Guinea in France on May 9.

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