SCG Muangthong United lost a tough away match to open the 2020 season. It was a game in which VAR was to play a major role, leading to one goal and overturning another, as well as producing two red cards.
Recent injuries meant Coach Gama was forced to change around the lineup from the starting XI who had emerged after pre-season preparations. Three players out with injury were Daisuke Sato (3 months at least), Adisorn (3 weeks), and Willian Popp (about a month).
The first half ended with Muangthong United leading 1-0 after Derley's penalty shot, awarded after a hand ball in the box, confirmed by the VAR officials.
Moments later, however, the red card did show itself after Pathum United player Irfan Ahmad was ejected when VAR revealed he had trod onto the back of Saharat. It was a moment where Irfan's momentum didn't leave him much time to get out of the way, but it was serious contact that could have done damage. The message to players is to leave space and take responsibility when you might hurt someone.
VAR had continued to change the course of the game as the second half got underway.
First, BG Pathum United were awarded a penalty after it was ruled that Sarach Yooyen had used a handball when the shot went off his arm. He was also to receive a red card from the event, and the game was now even at 1-1, and both teams at 10 players. It was back to square one.
Then BG Pathum United appeared to have the go ahead goal, however the VAR officials watching the game remotely pointed out that Pathum United midfielder Sumanya had obstructed a Kirin defender, allowing the shot to be taken. The goal was disallowed.
Yet BG Pathum United did get the go ahead goal eventually when Thitipan was left unmarked near the goal line, taking the header ball and turning to find the net from close range.
Further confusion and chaos was introduced, however, when the referee repeatedly sent Muangthong United players over to the sidelines because there was some issue with their socks. Play was allowed to continue while the players and team staff tried to figure out the problem, and the Kirin were repeatedly down another man, which wreaked havoc to the organization on the pitch as different positions were upended.
Said an angry Coach Gama after the match, "I never complain about the referee, but if it is like this for the full season, then this is crazy, very crazy. My team were the better team, and BG played well too, but this is not good for Thai football."
"I am worried about the effect on the younger players, as they are not conditioned to these kinds of events, and we have many academy players we needed to move into the first team this season, and with injuries to three senior players they found themselves today thrust into a strange football situation."
SCG Muangthong United will have their season home-opening match next Sunday, February 23rd, when the club welcomes Bangkok United to the SCG Stadium. Ticket details at https://mtutd.info/home.