Wish VAR was used in group ties, laments Bahrain coach
Bahrain coach Soukup said he respected the decision made by the referee.
Abu Dhabi - Soukup is confident the team will have better outings against Thailand and India
By Ashwani Kumar
Published: Sun 6 Jan 2019, 9:41 PM
Last updated: Sun 6 Jan 2019, 11:45 PM
Bahrain coach Miroslav Soukup rued missing out on three points after a late penalty awarded to the UAE resulted in 1-1 draw in the AFC Asian Cup Group A opening match.
Bahrain were almost through when the referee spotted that defender Mohamed Marhoon, inside the box, had deliberately handled the ball from an UAE corner kick. And the UAE striker Ahmed Khalil converted the spot kick in 88 minutes to snatch a point from the encounter.
"With minutes left, the referee shouldn't be just 100 per cent but 1,000 per cent right with his penalty decision. He should never have a doubt. But the referee after the corner kick turned and walked out (of the box), and then turned back again and gave the penalty. Somebody must have told him this is handball. I don't know," Soukup said after the match. "The penalty is hard luck. But we respect the decision made by the referee."
It was a difficult call to make for the referee and Soukup hoped Video Assistant Referee was used even for matches in the group stages.
"The video helps you more than the referees behind the goal as they are also in difficult position to see everything. If there is VAR for every game it is much better."
The coach said Bahrain stood a chance against the UAE after an improved show in the second half. "The UAE in last 2-3 months aren't confident. Also, they lost their warm-up game to Kuwait. I prepared my team to win this game. But we gave too much respect to the UAE. It was also the first game of the tournament and players were afraid about making mistakes. We were not strong in the middle of the pitch but improved our activity in the second half."
Soukup is confident the team will have better outings against Thailand and India. "The pressure of this game is behind us. We have two difficult games now. Our performance will be much better in those games. At the end, I am happy with this match as 1-1 is correct result. Despite the penalty hard luck, I am satisfied. This game has improved us a lot. This is a positive result."