Harsh words for Baihakki

A lack of discipline by one of our most experienced players.

National football coach Bernd Stange didn't mince his words when asked what he thought about Baihakki Khaizan's 45th-minute dismissal.

The 30-year-old defender was sent off after a weak shoulder-to-shoulder collision with Mus'ab Allahham as he was trying to retrieve the ball for a throw-in deep in the Jordan half.

The Jordanian left midfielder made the most of the contact and rolled around the Jalan Besar turf in apparent agony. 

Referee Tan Hai saw nothing amiss initially but, after consulting his assistant - fellow Chinese official Huo Weiming - he showed Baihakki, who was already on a yellow for a 24th-minute foul on Thaer Mawab, a straight red.

Just minutes earlier, Singapore had fallen behind through a disputed free-kick routine, where Thaer scored even though Hafiz Abu Sujad was clearly tripped by Ahmad Hayel and prevented from blocking the shot.

However, Stange felt Baihakki, who collected his 105th cap, deserved criticism.

"He should have stayed away," the German told The New Paper.

"I was already trying to whistle at him to stay away because we had just conceded a contentious goal and I felt he could lose his temper, but it was too late.

"It was a red card at a crucial moment, and he has to live with the criticism."

Baihakki's straight red means he could cop a three-match suspension, which rules him out of not just Singapore's final Asian Cup qualifier at Oman on March 5, but also at least one of the Lions' Suzuki Cup matches at the new Sports Hub at the end of the year.

The Johor Darul Ta'zim centre back told TNP the contact with Mus'ab was "accidental" and the red card was "uncalled for".

"We were a goal down, and we were all excited to get the game going," he explained.

"It was our possession, and you know long-throws are one of our strengths, so I wanted play to resume as soon as possible, but the player blocked me from getting the ball.

"I had no intention to foul him, and anyone who saw the incident can decide if it deserved a red card or not."

Match commentator Paul Masefield backed Baihakki, and called some of the refereeing decisions "embarrassing".

"There was minimal contact," he said of the incident involving Baihakki and Mus'ab. "And for that to be a red card, and a three-match ban, is a joke.

"Jordan's first goal shouldn't have stood because Ahmad Hayel kicked out at Hafiz. 

"Thereafter, I thought the referee was trying to even things up with Singapore's penalty, which was given after Safuwan's cross hit the Jordan player in the chest, and not his hand.

"And referees should never try to even things up even after making a wrong decision in the first place.

"For a referee of his experience, this was the worst performance I've seen from him."

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