Monday, 14 January 2019

2019 AFC Asian Cup - Referee Appointments for Group Stage MD3

Appointments for MD3 at 2019 AFC Asian Cup. 
14 January 2019, 17:00 CET - Al Ain (Hazza bin Zayed Stadium)
Referee: Ryūji Satō (JPN)
Assistant Referee 1: Hiroshi Yamauchi (JPN)
Assistant Referee 2: Jun Mihara (JPN)
Fourth Official: Mohd Yusri Bin Muhamad (MAS)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Jumpei Iida (JPN)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Hiroyuki Kimura (JPN)

14 January 2018, 17:00 CET -  Sharjah (Sharjah Stadium)
Referee: Ilgiz Tantashev (UZB)
Assistant Referee 1: Abdukhamidullo Rasulov (UZB)
Assistant Referee 2: Sergey Grishchenko (KGZ)
Fourth Official: Ronnie Koh Min Kiat (SIN)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Ravshan Irmatov (UZB)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Valentin Kovalenko (UZB)

15 January 2018, 14:30 CET - Al Ain (Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium)
Referee: César Ramos (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Miguel Hernández (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Alberto Morín (MEX)
Fourth Official: Deniye Gedara Palitha Parakkrama Hemathunga (SRI)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Liu Kwok Man (HKG)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Khamis Al Marri (QAT)

15 January 2018, 14:30 CET - Abu Dhabi (Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium)
Referee: Mohanad Qasim Sarray (IRQ)
Assistant Referee 1: Taleb Al Marri (QAT)
Assistant Referee 2: Saoud Al Maqaleh (QAT)
Fourth Official: Yoon Kwang-Yeol (KOR)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Ali Sabah Al Qaysi (IRQ)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Khamis Al Kuwari (QAT)

16 January 2018, 14:30 CET - Abu Dhabi (Al-Nahyan Stadium)
Referee: Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (QAT)
Assistant Referee 1: Mohd Yusri Muhamad (MAS)
Assistant Referee 2: Mohamad Zainal Abidin (MAS)
Fourth Official: Saud Al-Maqaleh (QAT)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Khamis Al-Marri (QAT)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Khamis Al-Kuwari (QAT)

16 January 2018, 14:30 CET - Dubai (Rashid Stadium)
Referee: Turki Al-Khudhayr (KSA)
Assistant Referee 1: Mohammed Al-Abakry (KSA)
Assistant Referee 2: Ronnie Koh Min Kiat (SIN)
Fourth Official: Palitha Hemathunga (SRI)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Muhammad Taqi (SIN)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Hettikamkanamge Perera (SRI)

16 January 2018, 17:00 CET - Al Ain (Hazza bin Zayed Stadium)
Referee: Ahmed Al-Kaf (OMA)
Assistant Referee 1: Abu Bakar Al-Amri (OMA)
Assistant Referee 2: Rashid Al-Ghaithi (OMA)
Fourth Official: Hiroshi Yamauchi (JPN)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Jumpei Iida (JPN)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Hiroyuki Kimura (JPN)

16 January 2018, 17:00 CET - Dubai (Al Maktoum Stadium )
Referee: Ravshan Irmatov (UZB)
Assistant Referee 1: Abdukhamidullo Rasulov (UZB)
Assistant Referee 2: Jakhongir Saidov (UZB)
Fourth Official: Sergei Grishchenko (KGZ)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Valentin Kovalenko (UZB)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Ilgiz Tantashev (UZB)

17 January 2018, 14:30 CET - Abu Dhabi (Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium)
Referee: Nawaf Shukralla (BHR)
Assistant Referee 1: Yaser Tulefat (BHR)
Assistant Referee 2: Mohamed Salman (BHR)
Fourth Official: Miguel Hernández (MEX)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: César Ramos (MEX)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Khamis Al-Kuwari (QAT)

17 January 2018, 14:30 CET - Al Ain (Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium)
Referee: Mohammed Abdulla Hassan Mohamed (UAE)
Assistant Referee 1: Mohamed Al Hammadi (UAE)
Assistant Referee 2: Hasan Al Mahri (UAE)
Fourth Official: Huo Weiming (CHN)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Ammar Al Jneibi (UAE)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Ali Sabah Al-Qaysi (IRQ)

17 January 2018, 17:00 CET - Abu Dhabi  (Zayed Sports City Stadium)
Referee: Kim Dong-jin (KOR)
Assistant Referee 1: Yoon Kwang-yeol (KOR)
Assistant Referee 2: Park Sang-jun (KOR)
Fourth Official: Cao Yi (CHN)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Ko Hyung-jin (KOR)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Fu Ming (CHN)

17 January 2018, 17:00 CET - Sharjah (Sharjah Stadium)
Referee: Chris Beath (AUS)
Assistant Referee 1: Matthew Cream (AUS)
Assistant Referee 2: Anton Shchetinin (AUS)
Fourth Official: Ronnie Koh Min Kiat (SIN)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Muhammad Taqi (SIN)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Liu Kwok Man (HKG)           


  1. Appointments for Wednesday:

    🇰🇷 Korea Republic vs China 🇨🇳: Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (QAT🇶🇦)
    🇰🇬 Kyrgyz Republic vs Philippines 🇵🇭: Turki Al-Khudhayr (KSA🇸🇦)
    🇮🇷 Iran vs Irak 🇮🇶: Ravshan Irmatov (UZB🇺🇿)
    🇻🇳 Vietnam vs Yemen 🇾🇪: Ahmed Al-Kaf (OMA🇴🇲)

    1. Fascinating that a referee who doesn't do matches in his own topleague, does get a match in the confederations hightest level...

    2. Either the Saudi football federation wants it this way. Or Clattenburg has convinced them that they are better off splurging money on foreign "mercenaries" (referee's). Effectively killing off any and all referee development in the kingdom.

      It can't possibly be because Saudi referee's aren't good enough. Because as we see here. They're being selected for AFC competitions.

    3. Irmatov in charge of Iran v Iraq could be an interesting game to watch. Especially if we see Irmatov that was at World Cup.

  2. From Coppa Italia game Napoli - Sassuolo:
    Disallowed goal after OFR, deliberate handball.
    What do you think? In my opinion it is not a clear mistake, impossible to be 100% sure that the touch had occurred by arm, it can be chest.
    In addition, maybe more important issue, was VAR allowed to intervent, given that it should be a new attacking phase when Sassuolo scored?
    You can see there is a save by keeper and then a deliberate play by a Napoli defender. So, can the handball directly be related to the goal scored?

    1. Yes, I think, the VAR must not intervene here, because it is a new attacking phase.
      However this would be a strange mistake to happen - maybe instructions are different to what we think?

    2. The APP issue is actually very straightforward. The Handbook says:

      The following are not considered a clear gain of possession:
      • a save, deflection or rebound that does not result in control of the ball
      • a clearance that does not reach or is not controlled by a teammate

      The defender cleared the ball but it did not reach a teammate, so the APP is not reset. This was a correct application of VAR protocols. Whether the handling was "clear and obvious" is a separate question.

    3. Thanks for the explanation, I was not aware of it.
      One could still argue that it was a clearance by the goalkeeper, which was then controlled by his teammate.

    4. I agree with Philipp. For me it is a new situation and not the same attacking play after the defender controls the ball from the GK. VAR was not allowed to intervene here

    5. But there's no "for me..." here. The regulations are clear. VAR was 100% allowed to intervene.

      There was a save, but it did not result in control of the ball by a teammate, as that teammate immediately cleared the ball with his first touch. And that clearance quite clearly did not reach a teammate.

      You can WANT this to be a new play. But per the VAR protocols it is not. The crew was perfectly correct in determining that no new APP had commenced.

  3. Agree Chefren, I was watching the match and I found very strange the VAR intervention

  4. 2018 Italian Super Cup appointment
    16/01 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
    Juventus - Milan
    Referee: BANTI
    Assistant referees: PRETI – PASSERI
    Fourth Official: DI BELLO
    Reserve AR: BINDONI

    Second Super Cup for Banti in his career, after 2015 edition (Juventus - Lazio in China). He will retire (out due to age) at the end of this season.

  5. OT : French appointments - MD 21

    18/01/2019 20:45CET
    Referee: Willy Delajod
    Assistant Referees: Philippe Jeanne - Michael Annonier
    4th official: Lakhdar El Bedoui
    VAR: Alexandre Castro - Sébastien Moreira

    19/01/2019 17:00CET
    Referee: Amaury Delerue (FIFA - 2nd)
    Assistant Referees: Bertrand Jouannaud (FIFA) - Julien Aube
    4th official: Mickaël Leleu
    VAR: Hakim Ben El Hadj - Sébastien Moreira

    19/01/2019 20:00CET
    Referee: Benoît Millot (FIFA - 2nd)
    Assistant Referees: Stéphan Luzi - Aurélien Drouet
    4th official: Bartolomeu Varela
    VAR: Karim Abed (FIFA - 2nd) - Lionel Jaffredo

    19/01/2019 20:00CET
    Referee: Johan Hamel
    Assistant Referees: Mathieu Grosbost - Stéphan Pignatelli
    4th official: William Toulliou
    VAR: Florent Batta - Stéphane Bré

    19/01/2019 20:00CET
    Referee: Jérôme Brisard (FIFA - 2nd)
    Assistant Referees: Benjamin Pagès (FIFA) - François Boudikian
    4th official: Yann Gazagnes
    VAR: Clément Turpin (FIFA - Elite) - Bruno Coué

    19/01/2019 20:00CET
    Referee: Olivier Thual
    Assistant Referees: Mathieu Lombard - Guillaume Debart (FIFA)
    4th official: Abdelatif Kherradji
    VAR: Thomas Léonard - Benjamin Lepaysant

    19/01/2019 20:00CET
    Referee: François Letexier (FIFA - 2nd)
    Assistant Referees: Cyril Mugnier (FIFA) - Mehdi Rahmouni (FIFA)
    4th official: Gaël Angoula
    VAR: Nicolas Rainville (FIFA - 2nd) - Pierre Gaillouste

    20/01/2019 15:00CET
    Referee: Jérôme Miguelgorry
    Assistant Referees: Éric Danizan - Christophe Mouysset
    4th official: Jérémie Pignard
    VAR: Jérémy Stinat - Dominique Julien

    20/01/2019 17:00CET
    Referee: Frank Schneider (FIFA - 2nd)
    Assistant Referees: Djemel Zitouni - Nicolas Henninot
    4th official: Julien Rouquette
    VAR: Éric Wattellier - Hamid Guenaoui

    20/01/2019 21:00CET
    Referee: Benoît Bastien (FIFA - Elite)
    Assistant Referees: Hicham Zakrani (FIFA) - Frédéric Haquette (FIFA)
    4th official: Faouzi Benchabane
    VAR: Mikael Lesage - Romain Delpech

    Young Delajod with an interesting game once more. Derby goes to Bastien. Interesting to notice that he had the two hottest games in France (OM - PSG and Saint-Etienne - Lyon).

  6. VIETNAM - IRAN, Muhammad Taqi Aljaafari Bin Jahari

    Video clips:

    => Yellow Cards (17', 45', 74', 89')

    => Missed Yellow Cards? (55', 66', 77')

    => Penalty Appeals (16', 43')

    => Poor onside by Ronnie Koh Min Kiat (51'). World class onside by Sergey Grishchenko (67').

    => I would be really interested in your thoughts on this situation: could this have been Serious Foul Play (78')?

    Match was one of the best pieces of football that I saw in UAE this month at least until eighty minutes. Players were basically focused on playing football, but this game was ready to 'combust' at any moment; Muhammad Taqi ensured the game passed without problems by never losing the overview.

    I really liked his caution at 17'. One can call it soft, and it would not be wrong to say this was the first 'bad' tackle in the game, but I think referee actually chose the optimal moment to open the cards. While his disciplinary control was not perfect (missed reckless attack at 55', and there is minimal difference between 66' and 89'), he managed to keep his hand firmly on this match. Well done, this wasn't an easy task!

    Referee presented himself very discreetly on the pitch. He allowed the players a fair amount in so order to make a flowing match (quite good foul detection / selection); his success was that he knew when he needed to get involved. Such unobtrusive approach worked really well in this match, I would hope in case of a different setting Taqi would be ready to solve a match using, eg. his soft skills, which we never really got to see today (not a criticism).

    If we talk about smaller crudités, he was hit with the ball at 20' (rare bad moment in very good fitness / positioning) and his way of dealing with Iranian protests was not ideal, neither empathic explanation nor firmness.

    If we back the referee regarding all crucial decisions (16', 43', 78'), I would say this was one of the best performances that I saw in this Asian Cup. Young Singaporean referee should get an assignment in the knockout stages.

    1. Thank you for the videos and your hard work, Michael. The same applies to Vlad.

      16' IMO, it's a penalty. Defender doesn't play the ball and hits the opponent in a careless manner. Referee had a good position and should have seen it.

      43' No deliberate handball, no unnatural position. Play on is correct, IMO.

      78' I consider the tackle a reckless one. He uses studs but force is medium at best. YC should be enough. However, the referee should really have a word with the VIE coach. Especially when he is shouting at him.

    2. Thank you!

      Yellow cards: I agree with all four of them. However, the Iranian players were quite persistent in their protests, especially the captain Dejagah. I would like a stronger reaction to that from the ref.

      Missed ones (?):
      56' is a really tough one. Eyes are on the ball, but I get the feeling he knew the other player was coming and deliberately rammed him with his shoulder. Would have been a 2nd YC if he deems it worthy of a caution, so I understand the final decision.
      For 67', I see little difference to the one given in added time. Another Vietnam player was close by, but the Iran player had lots of space. Therefore, SPA for me.
      78' first impression is no YC is ok, can't say more.

      17' yet another difficult call. For me, the defender does not realize there is an attacker behind him, his foot is high, but the head is low as well. Since he hits the ball and there's not clear contact, play on is the safer decision.
      44' Short distance, hand raised close to the body, but enlarging the same. I would prefer seeing such stuff not whistled, but I wouldn't say a pk is wrong either.

      52' Offside, AR is too far behind and therefore it appears as if the VIE player is onside.
      68' Brilliant indeed, the player almost getting the ball is not onside, difficult to spot with the defenders moving out and another Iran player in front of the player in question.

      79' Looks like he hits him in the ankle with the studs. No call at all is not acceptable, a strong case for SFP could be made.

      Definitely not an easy game, but I can back most of the referees decisions - the in 79' the one I have the most problems with. A bit more firmness or player management should be required in tighter matches, but overall good.

    3. Thank you but the ''missed'' yellow cards. None of them are obvious and clear yellow cards.

    4. I think 78' is a very difficult one to spot live from the referees position but on the replay it is indeed a very strong case for SFP.


    A match that was easier to referee than expected due to the standings in the group. All in all, nothing big to criticize about the Japenese team's performance in a rather "average" match.

    7' Goal UAE. If that ball hadn't gone in, it should have been a pk + RC, as a Thai defender on the line clearly handled the ball. Goal is the correct decision of course.
    11' THA #19 goes into a challenge after the UAE player has already passed the ball and catches him. YC possible, but the referee wants to keep his cards for now and gives a clear "no more" warning. Supportable decision.
    33' Late challenge by UAE #18 who raises his foot into a clearence by a Thai defender, studs showing. Foul happens in front of AR1 and the referee goes to check on the injured player. Nearly a minute after the foul, the referee crosses half the field to caution the UAE player. A quicker solution would have been preferable considering the harsh nature of the foul.
    65' UAE #8 tries to stop an attack by a Thai player by trying to trip him from behind and succeeds in the second attempt. SPA, but he also never even tried to play the ball. The referee decides a warning is enough. Considering the nature of the foul (repeated attempt without chance to play the ball), I can not agree with this too lenient approach.
    79' YC for THA #15 who hits a UAE player trying to enter the penalty area with his foot in the stomach. Quite endanering for the opponent. Maybe even SFP?
    90' UAE #8 gets a call against him for use of the arm in an aeriel duell. Despite the earlier warning, no YC. While the scene itself was not enough for a caution, players who commit YC-worthy challenges, but are "spared" should be cautioned after their next infrigement to avoid cheapening the warnings.

    Otherwise, not much to report. The referee used his verbal warnings well, especially in the beginning of the match (11', 14', ).

    1. Extra thanks to Mikael W for the video clips!

      7' Goal VAE - handball involved, but correctly given

      11' Verbal warning after late challenge by THA #19

      33' YC UAE #18 - Reckless Tackle

      65' - Verbal Warning for UAE #8, possible YC?

      79' YC THA #15 - Reckless Kick (SFP?)

      90' Persistent Infringement by UAE #8?

  8. YEMEN - IRAQ, Fu Ming

    Short refereeing highlights can be found in the above link.

    Not too much to say about Fu Ming's performance in the slightly surreal Yemen - Iraq game. Basically, Chinese referee did well to 'keep a lid' on everything and kept the game under control.
    Only YC given at 50' [1:10] was fully correct. Initially, referee's passive approach worried me, no visible warning at 23' [0:30], but in the end he showed to have a good feeling for the potential conflicts eg. 90' [2:40]. Referee missed a couple of cautions, at 9' [0:00] for a standing leg tackle not whistled and 53' [1:55] for a reckless attack on the achilles, but at least referee gave a verbal warning there. It was de facto impossible to really work in prevention on a player-by-player basis, so verbal warnings like 76' [2:20] were the most effective solutions.

    This was a game where it was much easier for the referee to 'lose' rather than 'win', but the referee came through without bigger problems.
    Fu Ming should be ahead of his compatriot based on the performance principle, and also for the fact that he showed a more proactive approach / to be a more sophisticated manager. But, considering what we saw so far from AFC, it seems the referees with credits before the championship will carry on more-or-less regardless of their show in UAE.

    1. I look at this two ways: Were the crucial scenes correctly assessed? There were no big ones, so yes. Any other glaring mistakes? No. Injuries? No.
      I mention this a lot, but I'm no fan of the leniency line nowadays. In this match, it didn't "hurt" not to give two or three of the possible YCs (24', 38', 77'). But these are attacks that are needless, the ball isn't there anymore and the only aim is to hit the opponent. In my eyes, a referee should prevent that and if warnings don't have that affect, you have to use cards. I support the latter option, but in this match, the referee's approach worked.

      Not the most challenging match with an average/solid performance.

  9. Man City - Wolves
    RC for Boly

    1. And penalty for Man City

    2. Good red card, good penalty

    3. About red card: is exactly the same foul like in Liverpool- Napoli when Skomina showed only a yellow card for van Dijk.

    4. Good work by Craig Pawson.

    5. I'd say a similar foul from Kompany to Salah but it was a YC then


    Short refereeing highlights can be found in the link above.

    1. I found his performance overall solid, and although his verbal warnings were quite strong at times (23'), I felt like overall he should have backed it up a bit more. More than a few times players were crowding him and asking for cards and the only case of dissent he did punish late in the match was due to - in my eyes - very soft decision. No crucial mistakes of course, but maybe a bit more balance in the player management/discipline department would be a point to improve for the future. The handball call was wrong for me. (But that's a bit like roulette I feel nowadays.)

  11. Appointments for Thursday:
    🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia vs Qatar 🇶🇦: Kim Dong-jin (KOR🇰🇷)
    🇱🇧 Lebanon vs DPR Korea 🇰🇵: Chris Beath (AUS🇦🇺)
    🇯🇵 Japan vs Uzbekistan 🇺🇿: Mohammed Abdulla (UAE🇦🇪)
    🇴🇲 Oman vs Turkmenistan 🇹🇲: Nawaf Shukralla (BHR🇧🇭)

    1. Sorry, hard to believe that all Sato, Ermatov and Kim Dong-Jin are rewarded for their poor performances. It's clear now that AFC don't pay attention to performances unless you award a doubtful penalty against the home team... Utterly abysmal management.

    2. As long as they get only a (semi-important) 2nd GS match, it is not much reward, I think.
      Therefore there is still hope that the better performers get directly KO matches.

    3. I would like to be wrong!

    4. It's what Arbitro Internacional says, I haven't found them on the AFC page.

      And do you mean "doubtful penalty for the home game"?

      But I agree, especially Kim Dong-jin was very disappoiting in his match and - in my eyes - failed to protect the players.

  12. Paolo Valeri has been selected among the officials who were at WC as VAR instructor in order to train Asian referees in Asian Cup KO stage. According to my informations, there will be Asian officials working at VAR, but there will be a pool of "teachers", and Valeri is among them.

  13. Cesar Ramos has let both his additional assistant and now himself be fully surrounded by Syrian players showing clear dissent by words and actions and did not yellow card a single player in either situation. This is a terrible look for the game.

    1. Can't say I'm surprised to hear that. I vividly remember how that was a problem in URU - POR at the World Cup, where Cristiano Ronaldo should have been sent off for such behaviour.

    2. Dissent?
      That word didn't even exist at the 2018 World Cup.
      So how can any of you truly expect the referee's to punish something the doesn't exist?

      Sends a great message to the masses watching around the world, right?

    3. I'm not exaggerating by saying there were at least 6 times where clear dissent was shown by Syrian players and no cards were issued.

    4. So referee's have the same instructions at this tournament as they did last year in Russia. Overlook and turn a blind eye to dissent by word or action.

  14. Ramos has given an absolute ghost penalty against Australia. The Syrian player was tripped by HIS OWN TEAMMATE!
    I have to say that this has been a very poor game by the Mexican with many none-existent fouls.

    1. More replays:

    2. Terrible mistake by AR/AAR, maybe the worst so far in the whole tournament.

      (IMO Ramos decides to concede PK after AR or AAR advice, whistle was quite delayed as he was following ball's direction)


      On that note.

    4. Unbelievable stuff, and the way the Syrian player holds his leg pretending to be in pain, no words...

      Australia won anyway with a goal scored in min 93, so karma is a b**ch :)

    5. As the CR, Ramos is ultimately responsible for the call. Based on the replays and taking into consideration where his attention is at the moment of the supposed contact. There is no doubt that it happened out of his visual range. I'm not so sure that his AR intervened. I am leaning more towards the AAR being the one who called for the PK.

      However it's yet another example of an AAR at this tournament doing too much and seemingly "insisting" instead of "assisting". And another penalty wrongly whistled in a very delayed manner. Adham Mahkadmeh(sp?) being the other in the opening match.

    6. "mexico-enjoys-clean-sweep-in-concacaf-referee-of-the-year-awards"

      Was there was any doubt?
      Mexico has been, is and will continue to set the standard in the region.


    (Clips thanks to MikaelW)

    1' Missed Penalty - UZB #13 fouls TKM #8; No YC given

    22' Verbal Warning UZB #17 (possible YC?)

    46' Verbal Warning TKM #8 (possible YC?)

    61' Missed YC for UZB #11 (?)

    71' YC UZB #5 - Reckless Kick

    86' Missed YC for TKM #5 (?)

  16. Second try


    Minute/Video minute:
    2'/14:58-15:47 - Penalty appeal PRK

    6'-7'/18:52-20:14 - YC QAT #3

    13'/25:58-26:42 - YC PRK #15 (Qatar player didn't get booked, wrong TV screen)

    17'/29:02-30:26 - YC PRK #11 and YC PRK #13

    26'-27'/39:05-39:34 - Missed YC QAT #19?

    38'/50:16-50:34 - Missed YC PRK #19?

    39'/50:58-51:44 - YC PRK #9

    43'/55:00-56:00 - Goal after no foul call earlier

    53'/19:54-20:38 - Missed YC PRK #19?

    54'/20:54-21:46 - YC PRK #10

    55'/21:50-22:50 - Goal QAT - good onside

    90'/57:20-58:34 - 2nd YC PRK #11

    1. Without analysing each clip individually, I have the impression of definitely one of the best performances so far at this Asian Cup by Hettikankanamge Dilan Perera. Sri Lankan should be appointed in the knockout stages.

  17. JAPAN - OMAN (Mohd Amirul Izwan bin Yaacob)

    Minute/Video minute:
    Crucial scenes
    26' - penalty for Japan, a rather cynical swing by the Omani defender. But it appears he hits the ball first, then the opponent.

    45' - penalty appeal after JPN #5 throws himself into a shot. My initial impression was that the ball hit the players ribs, but another replay suggests handball.

    Disciplinary management - Cautions
    26' - see the pk above - YC OMA #12 - dissent after the penalty decision, correct.
    (see above)

    36' - YC JPN #21 - for time wasting at a throw-in.

    49' - YC OMA #6 - late challenge.

    67' - YC JPN #9 - tripping his opponent from behind. Soft, especially compared to other decisions.

    90'+2 - YC OMA #11 - extensive holding/SPA.

    Disciplinary management - Others
    34' - Missed YC for dissent for OMN #17

    40' and 44' - Two already cautioned players with fouls that have "SPA character". At least verbal warnings would have been needed, if a 2nd YC wants to be avoided. &

    56' - Late challenge by OMN #17, a foul harsher than the one leading to a YC at 49'. Referee only gives a warning.

    64'-65' - OMA #15 jumps into his opponent intentionally with no chance of playing the ball to stop this attack. Once again, no YC.

    89' - Warning for JPN #19 after a lunge into the legs of his opponent.

    1. YC for dissent for OMN #12 could even deserve a RC, pushing the referee is unacceptable.

    2. One could argue the Japanese player actually committed the foul in 26' by coming in with his studs exposed. It's a difficult incident to assess. For my taste, no call would be the easiest one to make. A penalty seems too harsh here.

  18. PALESTINE - JORDAN (Muhannad Qasim Issa Sarrai)

    The only key match incident - a play-on call following a clash in the penalty area. Slo-mo replay shows there is a clear trip/stamp but in real pace I have a strong feeling the fall is not natural / the attacker wants to win a penalty. Very tricky scene again at this tournament.

    Below you can find highlights of good disciplinary control presented by Iraqi official in quite easy, slow-paced and rather friendly game. #9 PLE well managed at the beginning - mandatory YC for reckless tackle shown without hesitation and a strong warning two minutes later reached their target; there were no other incidents involving this player.

    Some minor mistakes like not played advantage or too soft whistle, but nothing important. Good, expected level. However, the final mark will depend on assessment of the KMI.

    1. I share your assessment, Vlad. A solid, expected level performance with minor mistakes (YC PLE #19 in 30' for me; missed foul at 79'; maybe another YC in 85').

      About the penalty scene: The attacker surely wants to get the pk, but there is a clear contact there. Therefore, for me it is penalty. Nevertheless, a difficult decision.

  19. INDIA - BAHRAIN, Ilgiz Tantashev

    Video clips:

    => 89', CRUCIAL penalty awarded, that decides the qualification

    => Disciplinary Control (15', 23', 35', 36', 43', 50', 51', 57', 62', 63', 85' +93')

    => Penalty Appeals (2', 59', 65')

    => 72', Deliberate Pass or Tackle on the ball? IFK assigned by referee team.

    => Decisions taken by ARs, Abdukhamidullo Rasulov and Sergey Grishchenko (6', 10' 13', 34', 45', 45', 76')

    As UAE - Thailand drew, this game directly sorted the qualification. India needed only to draw, Bahrain to win; one nation was going to be eliminated at the end.
    Tantashev fulfilled the basic requirements in this quite thrilling match, but didn't show a convincing performance in my opinion.

    => We have to start by talking about the fully decisive penalty at 89'. In real time it looked a black/white penalty, but one replay put some doubts in my mind. On frame-by-frame it was clear that attacker was tripped before he started falling: fully correct decision. Well Done!

    => Honestly, the rest didn't really convince me. Tantashev's very lenient approach (eg. clear YC missed at 23' being the clearest mistake), combined with the lack of management (no verbal warnings about reckless tackles / SPA), and his policeman-style (look at verbal warning at 43'..., and sorting out players in the wall at 73', no sophisticated soft skills) combined to make a disappointing impression on me.

    => About finer points, his fitness / positioning was quite good and helped him give a correct YC at 63' where one could have had the impression it was a clean tackle. Foul detection was quite strict, and slightly unpredictable, but was basically okay. He used advantage very liberally, sometimes well, other times not.

    => Really good performance (again!) by Sergey Grishchenko, I only counted one mistake in many tight situations. He looks to be a promising assistant referee, also with forming WC preselected trios in the next time.

    To summarise his performance, Tantashev whistled to avoid trouble. In the bigger (medial) picture this was fine, but his disciplinary control / self-presentation meant he gave no recommendation for higher tasks.

    1. The most important decision first: Correct penalty decision. The attacker wants nothing but a pk, but the defender is clumsy, there is clear contact.

      16' good warning
      24' no warning? YC-worthy reckless tackle, injury possible (BAH #11)
      36' If not YC, strong warning at least
      37' Ok with second warning, no ellbow
      44' Far too strong a warning
      58' Use of arms for an off the ball foul stopping. For me, a missed YC IND #14.
      63' Only meant to trip the opponent, studs hit not intended, but reckless. YC or at least a warning
      64' Got the slightest of touches, but I believe a supportable foul call. YC is mandatory then.
      90'+5 Seems like he threw another ball on the pitch. Correct YC, but I wish he would have shown such a strong reaction at some earlier scenes.

      Overall: Very lenient, far too lenient. 3 YC that should have been given for reckless challenges. Even if you want to solve such situations without showing cards at all, you need a clear line with your warnings. The one at 43' was almost rude; while the harshest fouls apparently led to no warnings at all. Subpar to say the least.

      Penalty appeals:
      3' I feel like we have a strong case for a penalty here. The BAH defender has eyes only on the opponent and his back to the ball and there is some holding. If a call would have been soft is sth the AAR would have been able to tell us, as it happened right in front of him. Unfortunately, in the deciding moment, his eyes were not on the players in question (0:14 in the video). His focus is on the bulk of players closer to the goal. We can't say for sure, but for me this looks like a pk.
      60' Difficult without a replay from behind the goal. The tackle doesn't hit the ball, I think, the attacker definitely sees he is going to reach the ball and tries to get the pk.
      66' Looked like a very fine tackling for me, no pk.

      72'/73' An attempt to prevent a pass with a tackle? The player isn't even aware where his goalkeeper is. For me, never an intentional backpass.

      Excellent Griščenko (AR2) performance with only mistake, Rasulov's one scene here was wrong though. Nevertheless, good job!

      So, how can I sum it up: Biggest crucial decision was correct, but otherwise, quite a few mistakes. I agree that the disciplinary and player management sections left much to be desired. I can't give a definite verdict about the early penalty appeal. Good performance by AR2 Griščenko!

  20. A big thank to all of you for your contributions.
    We are covering this tournament better than AFC refereeing committee, I would dare to say. It is a pleasure for me to read all your analysis.
    We have very detailed insights into Asian refereeing.

    1. It's called 'passion', Chefren :)

      By the way, I have a theory that only the big guns are authorized by AFC/IFAB to handle games with VAR and therefore we won't see the performance principle at this tournament.

      The reason would be the limitations regarding the exact amount of test games which is required to handle official games with the use of VAR. It could have been difficult to ensure all 30 referees refereed the exact amount of test games with VAR (additional reason would be no official games with VAR before the tournament). And that's why we will see VAR only from quarter-finals.

      Just a theory but...

    2. Yes, the WC18 referees and the referees from Australia, China and South Korea (with VAR domestically) probably have an advantage due to their VAR experience.

  21. SYRIA - AUSTRALIA, César Arturo Ramos Palazuelos

    Video clips (my .ts file was a bit f***ed, so it's a mixture of sources):

    => 18' Penalty? [Replay]

    => 29' Goal Disallowed

    => 40' Goal (I have the sensation that Ramos was about to give a YC, but when Australia kicked quickly, he allowed it. In case, that would be a big mistake... But I can be wrong)

    => 45' Yellow Card? (Studs Tackle, but no replay shown)

    => 53' Goal Awarded by Khamis Al Marri, Dissent with no caution [Replay]

    => 56' Yellow Card, Carting out a Reckless Elbow

    => 60' Penalty? Dissent with no caution [Replay]

    => 61' Yellow Card, Tackle

    => 78' Penalty [Replay]

    I'm sorry, but this was no good performance by Ramos. Besides the penalty awarded and the extreme toleration of dissent, I was shocked by his naïvety (whistling six or seven zero fouls after exaggerations, missing the moments to calm this match). What happened at 40', if I'm not wrong, would be an even deeper mistake than 78', but again, I can be mistaken. In some facets he did show to be the format of referee who CAN handle such challenging clashes (some warnings etc.), but he failed here.

    Good performances by both Miguel Hernández and Alberto Morín who were always right with on/off-sides, as well as Khamis Al-Marri who correctly recognised the 1-2 goal.

    In normal circumstances he would be sent home, but as Vlad said, it was probably determined before a whistle was blown that he will officiate a Quarterfinal match...

    1. 18' I feel like the attacker was already stumbling before the contact happened. In any case, too little contact IMHO. Would have been a very cheap call.

      30' Correct decision, though I had to look at the scene quite a few times.

      41' Looked like it should have been a YC. And while I like the "idea" of allowing the attack to proceed, his body language indicates he intends to and therefore distracts the players, especially the Syrians. Appears a bit hapless.

      46' Felt like it, but without replay difficult.

      54' Goal call is correct, well spotted. (Streamable doesn't work for me unfortunately, picture is frozen) I couldn't spot any overly aggressive dissent, but the cameras were focused on other things.

      57' Correct YC, but the presentation should be firmer. SYR #9 with a blatant show of disrespect (arm!) and shouting at the referee. Should have been a caution or at the very least a stern warning. Of course, the game was in a critical phase at this moment, but even more reason to establish and/or reinforce authority.

      61' I don't know, really. Of course not intentional, ball bounces of his foot, but the arm is outstretched. We have seen them given (Thailand - India). Personally, I would say no penalty, but this is not a rulebook answer. Strong dissent, he faced it calmly. A caution can be an option.

      62' No doubts. If not for the foul itself, it has to be given for PI as it was the fifth foul by the player.

      79' Can't see any contact, it appears as if the player trips over the feet of his teammate. The slight contact a second before falling isn't enough for a penalty in my eyes. Especially compared with the no call in the first half.

      Certainly not an easy match, but Ramos is a very experienced high level CONCACAF referee. I'm with the team in the following decisions: No Penalty in 19', Goal cancelled in 30', Goal in 54'. The penalty appeal at 61' is debatable, but the no call for me at least supportable. The pk at 79' a crucial mistake for me. I haven't seen enough to make a verdict about the disciplinary control, but at least in 57', he should have reacted much firmer towards dissent. The scene in 41' is another part of a rather, well, hapless picture for the Mexican. Surely no desaster, not with the correct decisions earlier, but also not what we would expect from him.

  22. I wasn't able to watch the games from start to finish, but here are my general impressions from what I've seen.

    KOR - CHN, Al-Jassim: early (correct) pk, two early YCs that were quite effective, afterwards, he kept it under control with warnings and good management. Another two YCs for China in the end, here, he faced very strong protests (90') that arguably should have been dealt with in a much firmer way. Very solid overall.

    KGZ - PHI, Turki Al-Khudhayr: I've only been able to join at the end of the first half; but what I've saw was quite impressive. A game with lots of counter-attacks and fouls between two teams fighting for survival. He started very early with his cards, but the ones I've seen him give were all very good choices indeed. Seven overall are joint most of this tournament so far, but again, they were justified. Only thing I have to criticize was a rather harsh foul in 87' (foot hits abdomen) that wasn't carded.

    Solid refereeing, two of the better performances I'd say.

    1. For the Korea-China game, I found the second and fourth YC not convincing for me.

  23. Full teams for todays games:

    Korea Republic - China
    AR1: Mohd Yusri Muhamad (Malaysia)
    AR2: Mohamad Zainal Abidin (Malaysia)
    FO: Saud Al-Maqaleh (Qatar)
    AAR1: Khamis Al-Marri (Qatar)
    AAR2: Khamis Al-Kuwari (Qatar)

    Kyrgyz Republic - Philippines
    AR1: Mohammed Al-Abakry (Saudi Arabia)
    AR2: Ronnie Koh Min Kiat (Singapore)
    FO: Palitha Hemathunga (Sri Lanka)
    AAR1: Muhammad Taqi (Singapore)
    AAR2: Hettikamkanamge Perera (Sri Lanka)

    Vietnam - Yemen
    AR1: Abu Bakar Al-Amri (Oman)
    AR2: Rashid Al-Ghaithi (Oman)
    FO: Hiroshi Yamauchi (Japan)
    AAR1: Jumpei Iida (Japan)
    AAR2: Hiroyuki Kimura (Japan)

    Iran - Iraq
    AR1: Abdukhamidullo Rasulov (Uzbekistan)
    AR2: Jakhongir Saidov (Uzbekistan)
    FO: Sergei Grishchenko (Kyrgyzstan)
    AAR1: Valentin Kovalenko (Uzbekistan)
    AAR2: Ilgiz Tantashev (Uzbekistan)

  24. I thought something might happen with Irmatov in charge of the Iran v Iraq game and so it did.
    The referee from Uzbekistan gave only a yellow card for this.
    In my opinion this is a clear red card.
    I might be remembering wrong but wasn't there a very similar incident involving Ravshan Irmatov at the World Cup?
    It is disappointing because his general play is good and he communicates well with players but lately when it has come to the big decisions there has been something lacking.

    1. Yep, he missed to see an intentional stomp with the studs.

    2. Irmatov has always had something lacking with big decisions. Always. He missed clear SFP at the 2012 Olympics. He awarded a goal when he actually whistled for a penalty at the Confederations Cup. None of this is new. At all.

      I'll say what I have said since I first saw Irmatov. He got lucky at 2010. Watch his games and tell him how many key match incidents he had. Almost none. He had good fitness and little controversy... coupled with confederational neutrality and other referees having difficulty, that's why he kept getting assigned so much. But he was not an exceptional referee in 2010. It's a myth.

      The Irmatov you see today and the Irmatov you saw in Russia is the Irmatov that has always existed, he's just more arrogant now.

  25. KOREA REPUBLIC - CHINA PR, Abdulrahman Al Jassim

    Video clips:

    => Penalty at 11', Penalty at 56'?

    => Yellow Cards (19', 20', 78', 89')

    => Potential Yellow Cards / Verbal Warnings (11', 34', 35', 36', 38', 45', 55', 62', 75')

    Good piece of refereeing by Abdulrahman Al Jassim, Howard Maxi summarised his performance well.
    I agree with what was written before that he is a rather 'elegant' referee, we will definitely see him again in this championship.

    1. 12' Little contact with the player lying on the ground, but CHN #4 trips him. Correct decision.
      57' Rarely see such stuff called, even if the there is more contact. I'm fine with "play on".

      20' Well spotted, an absolutely mandatory YC for a step on the ankle.
      21' One could argue it is harsh. While his arms are pushing the back of his head, there is at least no ellbow. The dissent that follows is very borderline (Touching the ref!) but he is very firm.
      79' It is a softer hit (late stamp) than we have seen in this tournament, but I'm absolutely ok and support a YC. Late, unnecessary, endangering the opponent.
      90' Without replay, it is difficult to say for sure. I believe I saw one from a perspective and it looked like a harsh decision. But this is blatant dissent by the Chinese player and the referee tries to get away from him instead of facing him. A 2nd YC might be extra harsh considering the foul, but for this form of dissent, it would be justified.

      Great warnings at 36', 39; only felt like 56' needed a stronger reaction. In 62', we see CHN #18 showing dissent after a clear foul. Maybe that was in the referee's mind when he booked him in 90' as well. His warning here was very angry, I feel like it would have been better to be this firm later on. 76' was SPA-ish, but overall, this was one of the best disciplinary controls IMHO that we have seen so far.

      Crucial situation solved correctly, good mix of cards and warnings, elegant style of refereeing. Combined with his first one, maybe the best two performances in this tournament. Minor points for improvement: Identifying reckless use of arms (both incidents with YCs were 100% clear for me), a bit firmer dissent management at times. Overall, a pleasure to watch!

  26. From Italian Super Cup Juventus - Milan
    No VAR intervention for this possible penalty.
    What do you think?
    In my opinion penalty should have been whistled but maybe not a clear mistake by referee (so OK that VAR didn't intervene). Banti said to Gattuso, Milan coach, that he had seen the incident and assessed it.

    1. I think with replay it's a very suer clear penalty. He gets the player before the ball and therefore it's a foul. Nothing else.

    Hello guys can you give me an opinion please?
    Juventus - Milan
    Red Card Kessie

  28. OT

    News coming from Cyprus.

    Bertrand Layec will replace Hans Reijgwart as Cypriot Head of Refereeing in June.

  29. IRAN - IRAQ, Ravshan Irmatov

    Always a very challenging game for any referee. The fact that both team were assured qualification calmed things down a bit and while it was competitive and certainly not easy, it was also not as hectic as expected.

    For Irmatov, games like this aren't new. In the first half, we saw the referee that he was in 2010. Good communication, solid decisions (e.g. advantage 12'), excellent player management (11'). The first larger foul led to a good, friendly warning (9') and he kept that line. The first YC came after almost half an hour for a reckless swing that did not hit the opponent with much force, but the caution was an ideal time to start for the endangering nature and to discourage such behaviour.

    There were three penalty appeals in the first half (18', 27', 45') and for me, giving none was correct in all cases. Near the end of the first half, things got a bit more heated. After a free kick we had the first player altercation and while it wasn't overly aggressive, Irmatov was crowded by Iraq players and should have been firmer. It took over two minutes until the free kick could be taken.

    Jackson already mentioned the most crucial scene of the match in 39': IRN #14 jumps over a sliding tackle, landing with the studs on the knee of his opponent. Irmatov immediately hands up out a YC before a furious player altercation ensued, which he watched from a distance. I can accept this call here, as there were no attempts of VC noticeable, it was a stand-off. While saying the Iranian player did this intentional is always debatable, for me, this scene warranted a RC.

    In the second half, Irmatov seemed a bit off. Like in the end of the first half, there were some quite inexplicable no-foull cals (37', but even more so in 62' and 72'). The scene in 62' led to a rash challenge out of frustration immediately after. At this point, he should have calmed down the game.

    While I agree with ignoring two more penalty appeals (both in 48'), his disciplinary line was unsteady: Ignoring blatant dissent by IRN #13 (49), no warnings for SPA (52') or late stamps (54'). The three YCs he handed out were for a mid-air collision for IRN #11, who was presumably booked for PI, as the challenge itself was not a clear foul for me. IRQ #2 was booked for SPA and IRQ #6 for holding - the latter one soft in comparison.

    The important scenes singled out:
    9' First larger foul by IRN #4; good warning
    18' Penalty appeal Iran
    21' Room for improvement in player management for a free kick
    27' Penalty apppeal Iran
    34' YC IRQ #14 - Reckless challenge
    39' YC IRN #14 - SPA?
    45' Penalty appeal Iran
    48' Two penalty appeals Iran
    52' SPA?
    54' Late stamp?
    62' No foul?
    67' YC IRN #11 - Persistent infringement/Reckless challenge
    72' No foul?
    78' YC IRQ #2 - SPA (no reaction to strong dissent)
    82' YC IRQ #6 - Holding

    To sum it up: A mixed bag. He kept the difficult game well under control most of the times and made the correct decisions when it came to quite a few penalty appeals. In the disciplinary section, he lost his line after a strong start, especially in the second half. I tend to say the missed RC for IRN #14 is a crucial mistake. Some almost shocking mistakes in foul detection later on weren't like Irmatov at all.

    I wouldn't say he was bad, but he's still not in the best of forms.


      A video compilation of the "referee highlights".

      The possible RC for SFP (IRN #14).

  30. Full appointments for the first two matches:

    OMA - TKM
    AR1: Yaser Tulefat (BAH)
    AR2: Mohamed Salman (BAH)
    FO: Miguel Hernández (MEX)
    AAR1: César Ramos (MEX)
    AAR2: Khamis Al-Kuwari (QAT)

    AR1: Mohamed Al Hammadi (UAE)
    AR2: Hasan Al Mahri (UAE)
    FO: Huo Weiming (CHN)
    AAR1: Ammar Al Jneibi (UAE)
    AAR2: Ali Sabah Al-Qaysi (IRQ)

  31. Full appointments for the final group stage matches:

    AR1: Yoon Kwang-yeol (South Korea)
    AR2: Park Sang-jun (South Korea)
    FO: Cao Yi (China PR)
    AAR1: Ko Hyung-jin (South Korea)
    AAR2: Fu Ming (China PR)

    AR1: Matthew Cream (Australia)
    AR2: Anton Shchetinin (Australia)
    FO: Ronnie Koh Min Kiat (Singapore)
    AAR1: Muhammad Taqi (Singapore)
    AAR2: Liu Kwok Man (Hong Kong)

  32. I have heard that Danny Makkelie and Paolo Valeri are the VAR instructors during the Asia Cup? Can someone confirm whether this is correct or not?

    1. About Valeri, I can confirm, you can read my post two days ago in this discussion!
      The news on AIA site:
      "Working as VAR Support and VAR Instructor".
      So, if Makkelie is confirmed as well, I don't exclude there could be also other names...

  33. KYRGYZ REPUBLIC - PHILIPPINES, Turki Muhammad Al-Khudair
    Short refereeing highlights can be found in the above link.

    Excellent performance by Turki Al-Khudair! In my opinion, the best one that we saw so far. Missed YC at 87' because the referee was so close, and some freekicks whistled were the only problems: the rest was stellar. Disciplinary control was on a very high level, all seven cautions sorted out by the referee were fully correct. His personality and management was very different to all other referees at this championship, he has a really flamboyant style, and totally succeeded in managing the players. Actually, it was a real masterclass in that; he reminded me a lot on the maître, Mateu. He wasn't a typical athlete, but his fitness was very good.

    I was fully convinced by Turki Al-Khudair, and for my taste, he showed the best performance so far at this Asian Cup (it makes a joke that eg. Moen officiates in his local league and not him).
    Please, AFC appoint this referee in the knockout stages!! But I am almost sure that they won't...

    1. Thank you for the clips! Indeed, a refreshing performance, he had has hands full and did brilliantly. Except for the missed YC at 87', I agree with all his decisions (maybe the first tackle in 31' warranted a YC, but without replays, it's hard to say). It raises questions indeed why he doesn't whistle in his own league.

      Chronicler duty's: The AFC has updated it's match page since yesterday and added a YC for PHI player Javier Patiño in 51', immediately after the KYG goal. AFC gives as reason for the booking "argument", which is usually used for altercations between players (for example, the YC in 12' is also listed as "argument"). I have watched the minutes in question and couldn't find anything. The player did get a no foul call against him at the very start of the KYG attack, but if he said sth about that to Al-Khudair, it would have labelled as "dissent". But that's just a footnote and won't change his performance I think. ;)

  34. Qualification between Lebanon and Vietnam was decided on Fair Play points. So every card was quite important there.

    1. Lebanon got two. One was for a scene that can be described as unlucky: The player wasn't looking and his attempted swing to shoot hit his opponent. The second was after the final goal, apparently for dissent.

    2. I'm sorry but that attempted swing you talked ab out was 100% a yellow card every day of the week.

    3. Yes, it was. Sorry for being unclear; what I meant about "unlucky" is that it wasn't cynical or intended, more of an accident/recklessness. But that doesn't matter, as you said, stonewall YC.

  35. R16 predictions
    Jordan - Vietnam: Al-Marri, Al-Marri, Al-Maqaleh (all QAT), Al-Amri (OMA), Al-Jassim, Al-Kuwari (QAT)
    Thailand - China: Kovalenko, Rasulov, Saidov (all UZB), Grishchenko (KGZ), Irmatov, Tantashev (both UZB)
    Iran - Oman: Green, Cream, Shchetinin (all AUS), Salman, Shukralla (both BAH), Beath (AUS)
    Japan - Saudi-Arabia: Ning, Weiming, Yi (all CHN), Kiat (SIN), Man, (HKG), Sabah (IRQ)
    Australia - Uzbekistan: Kimura, Yamauchi, Mihara (all JPN), Al-Hammadi (UAE), Sato, Iida (JPN)
    UAE - Kyrgyzstan: Ko, Yoon, Park (KOR), Muhamad (MAS), Kim (KOR), Perera (SRI)
    South Korea - Bahrain: Ming (CHN), Al-Roalle, Al-Kalaf (both JOR), Abidin (MAS), Sarray (IRQ), Al-Ali (JOR)
    Qatar - Iran: Faghani, Sokhandan, Mansouri (all IRN), Al-Abakry (KSA), Bin-Jahari (SIN), Yaacob (MAS)

    1. My R16 predictions:
      Iran won't compete with Qatar.
      AFC won't appoint Faghani for an Iran match.

    2. Typos happen. ;)

      The names are reasonable, at least based on the AFC principle and not really on performances. I would hope we see the likes of Taqi, Perera, Al-Kaf or Al-Khudayr, but that's most likely in vain.

      Ramos, Irmatov, Sato, Abdulla Hassan Mohammed, Shukralla and Faghani are save bets for the final seven matches I'd say.

    3. Indeed I did not consider performances at all. ;)

      I think, Al-Kaf should have a quite good status at AFC with two CL finals in the last three years and be a serious candidate for the last matches.

  36. VIETNAM - YEMEN, Ahmed Al-Kaf

    I'll keep this one short: The match wasn't as challenging as others on this final matchday, with Yemen trying to defend and stage counter-attacks and Vietnam being mostly unable to create clear-cut chances. The match was of average difficulty for the referee and mostly fair. Player management, positioning and foul detection were fine. However, there were a few noteworthy and even crucial scenes that can be discussed.

    27' YC YEM #11 - Late challenge, no replay

    37' YC YEM #8 + free kick (soft decision?) - YC for dissent, free kick is taken directly and scored; display is wrong, AFC website and looking at the referee confirms the YC is for #8

    63' Penalty + YC YEM #5 - Correct decision

    78' YC VIE #10 - Player altercation/Unsporting Behaviour

    83' Missed YC YEM #4 SPA (?) - The original impression (also that of the commentators) was that #4 had been booked in 37' which would have meant missed 2nd YC; only missed YC IMHO

    I agree with most of the referee's decisions. The first yellow card was shown at a good moment to disencourage further fouls like the one punished and it worked. The free kick was quite a soft -and in the end crucial - call, good YC for dissent in the same scene.

    Correct penalty call, despite it being a holding incident without trying to play the ball, I can agree with no RC for DOGSO here (another Yemen player was close and could have interfered, no full control of the ball). The YC at 78' seemed soft at first, but I like the immediate reaction by the ref which made it clear he would not tolerate such behaviour; again the Omani demonstrated the ability to use cards to discourage and avoid such incidents in the future. The missed YC in 83' was a mandatory one, but considering it wasn't a second YC as initially assumed, the decision is less critical.

    Overall, a good performance in a game that I would say was of average level difficulty. The referee's understanding when to use YCs to calm down the game impressed me and even though his foul detection was sometimes a bit soft, I think that makes him a good choice for a knockout stage game.

  37. Appointments for the first three matches of the knockout stage:
    🇯🇴 Jordan vs Vietnam 🇻🇳: Alireza Faghani (IRN🇮🇷)
    🇹🇭 Thailand vs China PR 🇨🇳: Mohammed Abdulla (UAE🇦🇪)
    🇮🇷 Iran vs Oman 🇴🇲: César Arturo Ramos (MEX🇲🇽)

    Quite surprised that Faghani is given one of the "smaller" matches. Abdulla Hassan Mohammed was to be expected and maybe that's the AFC's way of not sending Ramos home after the group stage, by giving him a smaller, rather one-sided looking match in the knockout stages?

    1. With Iran favorites to advance, this appointment for Faghani sets him up for the semifinal on the other side of the bracket on 29-Jan. Alternatively, if Iran falls, you could now see Faghani in the Final. It's a sensible appointment.

      I suspect Ramos was always guaranteed a R16 match as part of the exchange, unless he had the type of controversy that could not be ignored.

    2. Thanks for the explanation, especially considering it is only his second game, I would have suspected Faghani would almost certainly referee a semi-final.

      Which would mean the AFC does not consider the incidents in AUS - SYR to be enough controversy.

  38. And the second batch, took me by surprise:

    🇯🇵 Japan vs Saudi Arabia 🇸🇦: Ravshan Irmatov (UZB🇺🇿)
    🇦🇺 Australia vs Uzbekistan 🇺🇿: Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (QAT🇶🇦)
    🇦🇪 UAE vs Kyrgyz Republic 🇰🇬: Fu Ming (CHN🇨🇳)

    Apparently, Irmatov's performance in Iran - Iraq was well received, he gets the match that has the biggest names. Another certainly challenging game is the just reward for good performances for Al-Jassim (surely a candidate for the WC in 2022 in his homeland?) and after a rather unnotable Yemen - Iraq, Fu Ming will referee hosts vs debutants.

  39. LEBANON - DPR KOREA, Christopher Beath

    1st Half:

    8' Foul decision before the free kick that was scored (0-1), call given with significant delay; likely intervention by AR or AAR
    Video minute: 38:54

    11' YC PRK #5 - Off the ball Holding
    Video minute: 42:22

    30' YC LEB #11 - Reckless tackle; AR probably helped with the card - Very good player management
    Video minute: 1:01:00

    2nd Half:

    57' penalty appeal Lebanon
    Video minute: 24:44

    61' YC PRK #2 - SPA
    Video minute:28:26

    72' YC PRK #8 - Reckless tackle
    Video minute: 39:18

    77' Missed YC LEB #13 - Late stamp and blatant dissent
    Video minute: 44:55

    79' Penalty for LEB; Missed 2nd YC for PRK #2?
    Video minute: 46:23

    85' YC PRK #9 - Reckless tackle
    Video minute: 52:14

    After the final whistle YC LEB #10 - Dissent
    Video minute: 1:06:24

    A match that was challenging in its own way. Especially in the second half, Lebanon were desperate to score, leaving space for Korean counterattacks. Beath showed excellent fitness and managed to stay close enough to everything that happened. The line he chose was quite fitting for the game. A solid piece of refereeing.

    Of the six YCs, only one was a harsh decision for me (85'). There weren't any malicious challenges, although two were on the rougher side. In the first case, Beath's management was very good: While being sympathetic to the player, who had hit his opponent unitentionally, he nevertheless was firm and did not let it go unpunished. When confronted by frustrated LEB players after the final whistle, he booked one of them and the protests stopped.

    This caution in 30' as well as the free kick that led to the Korean goal were given with a short delay between the foul and the call. In the first case, Beath likely received a signal from the AR or AAR, as he let play continue before coming back to the scene. In 30', he most likely had a brief chat with the AR before booking the player. Good teamwork therefore ensured the correct decisions were taken.

    Regarding crucial scenes, three incidents stand out. A penalty appeal in 57' for holding during a free kick (two incidents), the penalty given in 79' and the free kick already discussed above. For the first pk appeal, there was some holding, but the pictures I have seen do not convince that there was a clear penalty missed. The one given isn't a black/white decision either: Did the player went down before the contact was there (It's obvious he was trying to win the pk)? Should it have been a 2nd YC for the foul?

    For me, another good performance by Chris Beath: Solid, reliable refereeing, a firm but not unapproachable referee was exactly what the game needed and what he provided. Based on performances, a knockout stage match should be a sure thing for the Australian.


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