Southeast Asia Thailand

Outrage as Controversial Penalty Condemn JDT to Defeat

Group G of the 2021 AFC Champions League played out their third set of matches on Monday night, with the group’s East Asian sides comfortably seeing off their Southeast Asian opponents. And while Nagoya Grampus’ 4-0 demolition job of Ratchaburi Mitr Phol was a straightforward win on the back of a Ryogo Yamasaki hat-trick, there was controversy in Pohang Steelers’ 4-1 win over Johor Darul Ta’zim, with the Malaysian champions being punished with three penalties. The first of those penalties caused outrage within the JDT fanbase due to the controversial nature of how it was awarded.

Ratchaburi Mitr Phol (Thailand) 0-4 Nagoya Grampus (Japan)

Winless and without a goal to their name, Ratchaburi are really up against it as they host on-fire Nagoya at the Rajamangala National Stadium. The Dragons’ head coach Siripong Sek-san deployed a slightly altered lineup for the match against the 2020 J.League 1 third-placers, with Steeven Langil, Sebastien Wuthrich and Kasidech Wettayawong dropping to the bench in favor of Apiwat Pengprakon, Praweenwat Boonyong, and Jirawat Thongsaengphrao.

Ratchaburi goalkeeper Kampol Pathomakkakul had to work hard from the get-go as Nagoya apply copious amount of pressure on the Dragons from kick-off, with the likes of Takuji Yonemoto, Naoki Maeda, and Yamasaki threatening the Ratchaburi defense in the early stages.

Kampol did well to deny Maeda in the 25th minute however he was undone just thirty seconds later, with Mateus swinging in an excellent cross from the right flank that was greeted by a powerful header from Yamasaki, the ball going straight beyond Kampol’s reaches.

With Nagoya now having the advantage, Massimo Ficcadenti’s men kept pushing forward and in the 31st minute Yamasaki struck again with another header to make it 2-0 Nagoya, this time with Yutaka Yoshida providing the vital cross.

28-year old Yamasaki then completed his hat-trick in the first minute of stoppage-time, poking home a close-ranged finish to ensure that Nagoya would have a healthy advantage going into the break.

Ratchaburi improved slightly in the second stanza on a wet Rajamangala pitch, gaining slightly more possession however still unable to chip their way through the Nagoya defense.

A slight blip in the Dragons’ defense in the 69th minute allowed Yonemoto to lay the ball off towards substitute Manabu Saito, with the veteran attacker blasting home past Kampol from close range to seal all three points for Nagoya.

Substitute Langil then provided Ratchaburi with their best chance yet in the 74th minute, however his tame effort was easily dealt with by Nagoya goalie Mitchell Langerak.

Saito then almost made it five nothing for Nagoya in the 75th minute, with Yoichiro Kakitani sending Saito on his way to the Ratchaburi goal, however Kampol managed to handle the incoming threat nicely.

The 4-0 win gave Nagoya a huge opportunity to book themselves a spot in the round of 16, with a win against Ratchaburi in their return encounter on July 1st, while another loss against the men from Aichi Prefecture could spell the end for Ratchaburi’s maiden Asian campaign.

Pohang Steelers (South Korea) 4-1 Johor Darul Ta’zim (Malaysia)

3-time ACL winners Pohang took on ambitious Malaysian upstarts JDT on Monday night’s late kick-off at the Rajamangala and while the men in red-and-black had the attacking initiative from the start, it was the Southern Tigers who managed to draw first blood.

In the 16th minute, Leandro Velazquez fired off a speculative shot from some distance, with the ball taking a slight deflection before nestling itself in the bottom corner of Kang Hyeon-mu’s goal.

However, controversy broke out in the 26th minute after Velazquez was judged to have fouled Go Young-joon within the penalty area. Replays suggested that Young-joon had tripped on his own legs underneath pressure from Velazquez, however Australian referee Shaun Evans gave Pohang the penalty anyway, much to the outrage of the JDT fans spectating the match from their homes.

Ukrainian striker Borys Tashchy made no mistake with his assignment, as his powerful shot sent Farizal Marlias diving the wrong way.

Pohang’s equalizer revitalized the South Koreans while the controversy regarding the equalizing penalty might’ve disrupted JDT’s rhythm. This resulted in JDT defender Mauricio needlessly going in on Mario Kvesic within the area in the 35th minute, prompting the referee to award Pohang with their second penalty of the night.

Farizal managed to deny Kang Sang-woo’s spot kick superbly, however referee Shaun ordered the penalty to be retaken as the Malaysian goalkeeper had gone off his line prior to saving Sang-woo’s penalty. The Pohang captain made no mistake with his retake and Pohang are 2-1 up, a scoreline that lasted into the break.

JDT went straight on the offensive from the start of the second half, with Bergson going close in the 47th minute after an excellent Velazquez ball. The Brazilian then almost equalized again in the 49th minute, with his effort being caught by Hyeon-mu.

With JDT unable to find their way past Hyeon-mu, Pohang killed off the game in the closing ten minutes. Kwon Gi-pyo made it 3-1 in the 82nd minute, taking advantage of Farizal going off his line to slot home into the empty net.

Pohang were then awarded with their third and last penalty of the night, after Matthew Davies had improperly challenged Alex Grant in the area. Up step Lim Sang-hyub, who dispatched the penalty with aplomb and seal up all three points for Pohang.

JDT will have an opportunity to exact some revenge as they take on Pohang once again at the Rajamangala on July 1st.