Not sure what is more painful. Being hammered in the foot with a 3 inch nail or watch a grown man roll around the football pitch faking injury.
Does UKM have a faculty that awards degree in Injury Faking? Because from what was seen last night, almost every player seems to hold that degree. And I assume….NO, I am certainly absolutely definitely convinced that the goalkeeper holds a Phd with specific research in “How to react as is you’ve got a see-through puncture in your right arm”. Should be given a fellowship of something.
I don’t mind if a team tries to wind down the clock by slowing the pace of the game. It’s part and parcel of tactics. But faking injuries. Come on! It’s just downright rude. Ungentleman, if there is such a word.
And if that is not enough to boil the blood in you 2 times over, how about we put into the mix 3 more figures. Referee and his trusted sidekicks. Hardcore poor refereeing ensured what was an already feisty affair on the pitch become an almost free for all at the final whistle. The Negri bench made sure that the referees heard what they thought about the refs’ performance. Their faces were so close to the ref’s ear that they probably could taste the earwax.
For Negri, it was 3 points lost and a big blow to the promotion charge.
The first 15 minutes was a balanced affair. Both sides going hit for hit, jab for jab. Getting more into the game, it was evident that UKM were going to employ rough-house tactics. And it worked as it threw Negri of rhythm. Neto particularly was the center of their attention. The tactics persisted and continued to rile Negri players even after Neto was injured after 15 minutes. They even tried on Igor but he seemed to be able to shrug it off. What a guy!
To be fair, the defeat was not just down to UKM’s unsavoury tactics and referee’s shortcomings. Negri contributed a big chunk of share to the lost. UKM played a compact disciplined defence and Negri were unable to pry them open. When Negri did manage to find a way through, it was frustrated by either poor finishing or good goalkeeping. Yes, same goalkeeper. A decent goalie when he’s not rolling around the field.
The biggest area that should really be looked into are the fullbacks. Left and right. Throughout the game (in fact, in previous games too), these positions were cause for concern. Kalai does not seem to fit in that position. Every game he’s played, by the 25th minute, his name will start to be shouted from the stands, completed into a sentence with other words deemed inappropriate for primetime television. Slow decision making, sluggish style even in urgency and often stray passes just provide more ammunition for the already trigger happy fans. We can see that he’s trying hard, we really do. But it just doesn’t seem to gel.
Why pick on the fullbacks? Because it is clear from Mat Zan’s tactics that he intends to use fullbacks to provide overlapping supports for the flankers. Not only in last night’s game but throughout this season. During these games, one just keeps wondering, if only we have fullbacks that can execute Mat Zan’s philosophy. If only.
Our local lads need to step up their game. Take it up a notch.
Well, it was another lost but there’s definitely no shame in it. And the fans showed that last night, applauding the team even in defeat.
So where do we go from here, what do we do?
Soldier on, of course. What else is there to do.
– Faizal Jabar