Thailand protest refereeing decisions in loss to Saudi Arabia in 2018 World Cup qualifying

Thailand have lodged a complaint with Fifa following their loss to Saudi Arabia on Thursday in 2018 World Cup qualifying after a pair of contentious second-half calls.
Thailand's Mong Kol, left, vies with Saudi Arabia's Omar Othman during their World Cup qualifying match on Thursday in Riyadh. Fayez Nureldine / AFP / September 1, 2016
Thailand's Mong Kol, left, vies with Saudi Arabia's Omar Othman during their World Cup qualifying match on Thursday in Riyadh. Fayez Nureldine / AFP / September 1, 2016

The Football Association of Thailand has lodged a complaint with Fifa over the refereeing during their 1-0 loss to Saudi Arabia in a World Cup qualifier on Thursday, local media reported.

The Thais were left incensed at Riyadh’s King Fahd stadium after striker Teerasil Dangda went down in the penalty area following contact with goalkeeper Yasser Al Mosailem in the 20th minute but Chinese referee Fu Ming awarded a free kick outside the box.

• Related: Japan FA lodge protest over disallowed goal against UAE

The visitors were later heartbroken when Fu awarded a spot kick to Saudi Arabia in the last 10 minutes when substitute Fahad Al Muwallad tumbled over in an innocuous challenge by midfielder Sarach Yooyen.

Nawaf Al Abid slotted the winner but the Thais’ night was further soured when Sarach was given a second yellow card for dissent after the final whistle to ensure he will miss the next Group B fixture against Japan.

Sarach was in tears after the match and claimed Fahad had dived.

“The penalty was not our mistake. In fact, in the first half, we should have been awarded a penalty,” Thai coach Kiatisuk Senamuang said in comments published by the Bangkok Post.

The first round of qualifiers has put the quality of Asian refereeing under the microscope, with Japan also furious after a number of contentious calls in their 2-1 defeat at home to the UAE.

Australia, who defeated Iraq at home on Thursday, lead Group B on goal difference from UAE and Saudi Arabia after the first round of matches.

The top two sides automatically qualify for Russia in 2018, with the third-placed side going into a play-off.

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Published: September 3, 2016 04:00 AM

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