Friday, 18 January 2019

2019 AFC Asian Cup - Referee Appointments for Round of 16

Thank to @ArbitroInteBlog on twitter, appointments for Round of 16 at 2019 AFC Asian Cup. 
20 January 2019, 12:00 CET - Dubai (Al Maktoum Stadium)
Referee: Alireza Faghani (IRN)
Assistant Referee 1: Reza Sokhandan (IRN)
Assistant Referee 2: Mohammadreza Mansouri (IRN)
Fourth Official: Abu Al Amri (OMA)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Mohanad Qasim Sarray (IRQ)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Liu Kwok Man (HKG)

20 January 2018, 15:00 CET - Al Ain (Hazza bin Zayed Stadium)
Referee: Mohammed Abdulla Mohamed (UAE)
Assistant Referee 1: Mohamed Al Hammadi (UAE)
Assistant Referee 2: Hasan Al Mahri (UAE)
Fourth Official: Deniye Gedara Palitha Parakkrama Hemathunga (SRI)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Ammar Aljneibi (UAE)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Hettikamkanamge Dilan Perera (SRI)

20 January 2018, 18:00 CET - Abu Dhabi (Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium)
Referee: César Ramos (MEX)
Assistant Referee 1: Miguel Hernández (MEX)
Assistant Referee 2: Alberto Morín (MEX)
Fourth Official: Matthew Cream (AUS)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Chris Beath (AUS)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Ali Sabah Al Qaysi (IRQ)

21 January 2018, 12:00 CET - Sharjah (Sharjah Stadium)
Referee: Ravshan Irmatov (UZB)
Assistant Referee 1: Abdukhamidullo Rasulov (UZB)
Assistant Referee 2: Jakhongier Saidov (UZB)
Fourth Official: Sergei Grishchenko (KGZ)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Valentin Kovalenko (UZB)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Nawaf Shukralla (BHR)

21 January 2018, 15:00 CET - Al Ain (Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium)
Referee: Abdulrahman Al-Jassim (QAT)
Assistant Referee 1: Taleb Al-Marri (QAT)
Assistant Referee 2: Saoud Al-Maqaleh (QAT)
Fourth Official: Deniye Gedara Palitha Parakkrama Hemathunga (SRI)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Khamis Al-Marri (QAT)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Ahmed Al-Kaf (OMA)

21 January 2018, 18:00 CET - Abu Dhabi (Zayed Sports City Stadium)
Referee: Fu Ming (CHN)
Assistant Referee 1: Huo Weiming (CHN)
Assistant Referee 2: Cao Yi (CHN)
Fourth Official: Yoon Kwang-Yeol (KOR)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Ma Ning (CHN)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Ko Hyung-jin (KOR)

22 January 2018, 14:00 CET - Dubai (Rashid Stadium)
Referee: Ryuji Sato (JPN)
Assistant Referee 1: Hiroshi Yamauchi (JPN)
Assistant Referee 2: Jun Mihara (JPN)
Fourth Official: Anton Shchetinin (AUS)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Jumpei Iida (JPN)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Turki Alkhudhayr (KSA)

22 January 2018, 17:00 CET - Abu Dhabi (Al-Nahyan Stadium)
Referee: Muhammad Taqi (SIN)
Assistant Referee 1: Ronnie Koh Min Kiat (SIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Serhei Grishchenko (KGZ)
Fourth Official: Rashid Al Ghaithi (OMA)
Additional Assistant Referee 1: Hettikamkanamge Dilan Perera (SRI)
Additional Assistant Referee 2: Ahmed Faisal Alali (JOR)                   


  1. JAPAN - UZBEKISTAN, Muhammad Abdullah Hassan Mohamed

    Video clips:

    => 13' Yellow Card?

    => 32' Yellow Card, Studs Tackle

    => 47' Yellow Card, Stopping a Promising Attack

    => 57' Japan score the 2-1, but should the referee have stopped play beforehand?

    => 68' Yellow Card, Reckless Tackle

    => 71' Yellow Card, Stopping a Promising Attack

    => 80' Missed Yellow Card, Reckless Tackle (Referee chose a verbal warning)

    => 83' Missed Yellow Card, Standing Leg Tackle

    Basically a good performance by the Emirati. Disciplinary control was very good, until he missed cards at 80' (surely a perception mistake, dark YC) and 83' (to give it eventually would have inflamed the match, but clear reckless foul nonetheless).
    Match was probably the most dynamic one we saw so far, which was helped the referee's lenient assessment of duels that the players seemed to understand and follow.

    I feel like I finally understand Mohamed as a referee after this match. He is 'another' referee who whistles to avoid trouble, lenient approach with 'only' solid soft skills, but these are not the skills that took him to a WC. His refereeing is supported by a strong foul detection, but easily his biggest asset is his ability to control the pace of the match. After two cynical fouls which he played a good advantage from and Uzbek players mildly dissenting AAR1, he made no effort to stop the match (18')- typical of 'avoiding trouble'. However, what was not typical from that way of refereeing, was the pedanticism that he showed a minute later where he sent Uzbek player back to the exact position of a throw-in (it was otherwise unnecessary), and then the same for a freekick some seconds later. Similar incidents of seemingly unexplained punctiliousness happened at various equivalent moments in the match. You might think this is just a triviality, but I'm sure this was fully intentional in so order to control the pace of the match.
    It means that in his style of refereeing which is 'risky', he manages to minimise the risk as much as possible; not just slowing it down after sth big has happened, but using that BEFORE even a real noticeable incident, as a kind of prevention.
    As you can tell, this fascinated me :-D

    Incidents at 80', 83' worried me slightly, but a more-or-less good performance by Muhammad Abdullah Hassan Mohamed.
    I would like to wish him good luck in the Thailand - China match on Sunday, deserved assignment according to the performance principle.

    1. Thank you for this intriguing report, I will keep it in mind when I watch him tomorrow!

      As for the match itself and the most crucial decision, I can support the play-on decision before the Japan goal. The ball is outside the penalty box, the player is on the ground to the right of the goal, so not in an involved area. Unlucky for Uzbekistan surely, but understandable that the referee lets play continue.

      All YCs given were mandatory in my eyes, but the missed one in 80' is quite blatant, given that referee and AR had the best view possible. High foot, studs hitting the chest, YC is an absolute must. The one left out in 84' is more understandable, I would have preferred a YC, but one can surely back the referee here.

  2. Saudi Arabia - Qatar, KIM DONG-JIN

    This was one of the worst refereeing that I ever saw. To be honest, I'm not more motivated to write much more than that. I think that Velasco was better in Brazil - Colombia, but Lopes in his Copa America Final and Juan Soto in Spain - Honduras were worse; hopefully that paints a picture. If anyone is interested then I can write my notes below, but I have a stronger message for AFC:

    It was so clear that this was going to happen after Jordan - Syria, and actually, it was even a lot worse than my extremely low expectations. If they appoint the Korean again, like I think they will do, then AFC Referees Committee should be ashamed of themselves, and they should resign from their functions because they are clearly no longer fit for purpose. Sorry for such strong words, but one has to be honest...

    1. Dear Mikael, you made me very curious. It would be interesting to have some notes on the game with references to videos... of course, if you want :)

    2. I'm having a look at this game once I posted Shukralla's report this evening.

  3. From now you can find domestic appointments (including top ~20 European Leagues) on KS:



    Situation from ligue 1 Monaco - Strasbourg. Dogso ? Offside?

    1. Good decision by VAR, no offside because there is a deliberate play by Monaco's defender (you can see he puts his leg). So, offside is annulled and the foul punished by referee. One can agree with RC for DOGSO, maybe YC for SPA would have been supportable as well. However, VAR should have informed the referee only about the fact that it wasn't offside, RC should be the original decision by Letexier on the pitch, otherwise, before issuing it, he should have done an OFR.

    2. I think Letexier would have give a RC for the fault but the original decision was offside. VAR said onside and so Letexier gave RC wihout OFR as he clearly saw the fault.

  6. OMAN - TURKMENISTAN, Nawaf Shukralla

    A challenging game for the experienced Bahraini referee. With both teams having chances at making it through the group stages and both needing to win, it was an open game that Oman dominated while Turkmenistan had many dangerous counter-attacks. Basically, a game that required an alert and firm referee.

    For me, Shukralla did well. His disciplinary approach was stepped, he always gave warnings wenn possible (18', 33', 37', 47', 58'). There was a lot to like about his disciplinary control, he was consequent in punishing harder fouls. The first YC of the match was given in 22' for a late challenge, Shukralla correctly remembered that said player had committed a similar foul seconds earlier and booked him accordingly. His line was consistent for most of the time: One could consider additional YCs, like the foul by TKM #18 before the free kick that led to the 1-0 (SPA) or one for a late challenge by TKM #11 at 37'. Shukralla used his cards well to keep a very competitive game fair.

    However, there are some points to discuss. At first, his warnings very firm, even agressive at times (58, 69', 90'+1), shouting at the players or a coach on the bench. While this is understandable in a game where much is at stake for the teams and they are likely to show dissent, it always bears the risk of igniting things further. This was especially the case in the second half, while he was much calmer before the break - his behaviour changed according to the game.

    Teamwork was mostly good, although a final assessment can't be made without looking at four crucial scenes.

    32' TKM goal cancelled due to a foul on the goalkeeper by TKM #4 (AAR helped most likely) - a wrong decision for me; no foul in the aerial duell
    Video:, go to 58:56

    55' An Oman free kick hits the outstretched arm of TKM #4 before continuing goalwards; TKM goalkeeper manages to parry it away - Two decisions here: Handball and goal? - Despite happening directly in front of the AAR, the referee team came to the IMHO wrong decision. While video replays suggest the ball hadn't crossed the line in full, it was a rather clear handball and a missed penalty.
    Video: Jump to 23:26

    In 87', TKM #4, who had been booked in 79' for reckless use of arms committed a similar infringement, but wasn't send off for a 2nd YC. Replays aren't conclusive enough, so I accept the referees decision.

    In 90'+1, we had another handball appeal by Oman, after a header hid the arm of a TKM defender. The arm was right next to the body, not extended in any way, no movement towards the ball and almost no reaction time. Absolutely correct decision not to whistle a pk.

    Thus the final assessment of an otherwise solid performance with small inconsistencies must be made considering these scenes. In my eyes, cancelling the TKM goal and not giving the handball penalty early in the second half were both crucial mistakes. Here, the team did not come to the right decision together.

    Nevertheless, Shukralla should be a sure candidate for at least a QF.

  7. Interesting incidents from Welsh League Cup Final (Nathaniel MG Cup) - Saturday 19th January
    20' - YC vs RC, VC?
    25' - Handball penalty? YC?

    Interested to hear your thoughts

    1. 20:Borderline, minimal contact if any. Don't see it as violent conduct so yellow okay for me.

      25: Super obvious handling. Penalty and yellow card.

    2. Thank you for your view. I think the incident at 20 is interesting as when you view the clip, the first planting of the foot by blue 7 is minimal contact with the opponent but the player then proceeds to step on the injured player whilst he's on the ground (clearest at 0:52)

    3. Yes I never watched it all. At 52 seconds that's a clear violent conduct.

  8. It was obviously already decided pre-tournament but Ramos getting a knockout game after what happened in the Australia v Syria game is a joke!

  9. Appointments for the two matches on Tuesday:
    🇰🇷 Korea Republic vs Bahrain 🇧🇭: Ryuji Sato (JPN🇯🇵)
    🇶🇦 Qatar vs Irak 🇮🇶: Muhammad Taqi (SIN🇸🇬)

    Full appointments:

  10. Quick observations for Faghani's first half in Jordan - Vietnam:
    Tries to let the game flow, so far handles everything with warnings (4', 13', 19', 24', 25'). Missed one very clear YC for VIE #5 (19', Step on the ankle of a sliding player), must have been a perception mistake.

    Two more noteabable scenes: A no foul call in 31' that would have given Vietnam a free kick at the edge of the box, depatable from what I've seen. And the decision ahead of the free kick that lead to Jordan's 1-0: He gave an indirect free kick just inside the penalty box for dangerous play. One I would love to hear some thoughts about once there is video material.

  11. List of participants for FIFA Seminars, to be held in Doha, Qatar

  12. JORDAN - VIETNAM, Alireza Faghani

    Continuing from my notes of the first half, it was a rather fair match with only a few harsher fouls. 29 fouls over 120 minutes + added time is quite a low number.

    Faghani was quite lenient, trying to let the match flow as much as possible. I wasn't always convinced by his line between no foul and foul, but the players accepted it and dissent was kept at a minimum. His only YC was for a late challenge and well-placed to calm tempers down a bit - the Vietnam bench was quite agitated by the foul and after warning them, he carded the player, though I believe he planned to do that regardless of outside reaction of course.

    Still, he missed two absolutely mandatory cards for me, both for late stamps with studs (19', 108'), there was a bit of a lack of awareness for that and that partially makes me unsure about some of his other foul/no foul decisions (24', 92', 120'). I'm fine with not exagerating the scene in 113' when the VIE goalkeeper after catching the ball and hearing the offside call intentionally barges into his opponent, although I'd rather see such unsporting behaviour carded.

    So while one could (I would, some wouldn't probably) say there were small areas of improvement in that regard; there were no crucial scenes and no mistakes of the larger sort in a fair match whose challenge lay into being alert and adapt for 120 minutes.

    Highlights/Video material (hopefully) to follow.

    Edit: I just found confirmation that VIE goalkeeper was booked during the shoot-out for excessive celebration after a Jordan player had hit the bar. You don't see that any day and I've seen worse reactions, but ok.

    1. And now it has been removed again. Weird.

    2. Strange, that Faghani wore the yellow adidas kit in this match, while in the other matches there were Nike kits (and blue would have been possible today).

  13. THAILAND - CHINA, Mohammed Abdulla Mohamed

    Very impressive performance by the Emirati, I was pleasantly surprised. He proved that he can adapt his line and refereeing to the game. His soft skills still aren't his biggest strength, but despite some hecticness and a competitive game, he was firmly in command throughout it.

    His disciplinary control and excellent foul detection helped greatly. He didn't hesitate to show an early YC for a late tackle, but when possible gave effective warnings (9', 38'). Even better, the line remained consistent throughout. Late stamps were punished accordingly and although five cards at half-time are a high number, all of them were correct and his strictness clearly showed that he wouldn't allow rough play. And it worked as there were no such incidents anymore in the second half.

    A few scenes that impressed me: One minute after giving the first caution to a Thai player, there was an SPA-ish incident by CHN #10. Mohammed gave a warning instead of a booking and although the player committed one more foul ten minutes later, that was it. Especially well handled was an incident in the second half, when after some blatant shirt pulling, the Emirati allowed the attack to proceed and when no advantage came from it, he whistled the foul and booked the player. Excellent! Same goes for an altercation caused by a Chinese player late in the match to waste some time: Mohammed interfered quickly, isolated the player and booked him.

    Perfect positioning allowed him to give a clear penalty that despite some frustration was accepted without fuss. This was the most crucial decision (game winning goal was scored). AR2 cancelled a Chinese goal minutes later for offside (correct).

    A very good performance by Mohammed Abdulla Hassan Mohammed IMHO. Surely he made a very strong case for further appointments today.

  14. OT: Undiano just added six (!) minutes in Villarreal-Athletic. Unbelievable :D

    1. And huge controversy with VAR in that match... although I think the decision is fully correct.

  15. IRAN - OMAN, César Ramos

    It doesn't pay to talk much about player management and disciplinary actions in this match, as it was defined by two crucial decisions: Penalty for Oman in the first minute (saved) and a penalty for Iran close to half-time. It was a competitive game between these two scenes, after that, it was pretty much decided and therefore not as intense.

    Videos of the penalty decisions soon to follow. Let's just say the more I watch them the less convinced am I that they were both correct. It were certainly no black/white scenes.

    I'm not the biggest fan of Ramos TBH, so I want overanalyze his style, but what I found quite noticeable is that when he gives warnings, they are way more intense to a player (or his teammates) who was fouled than to the one who committed it. At least so was the case today. His three YCs were correct (first one pending on the pk call of course).

    Regardless of the evaluation, Ramos has created much controversy in his two appearances and there has been a lot of criticism for the referee exchange. As much as I support "backing the referee", it should be his last performance at this tournament.

  16. I don't know if anyone noticed Faghani and Fu Ming wore Adidas kits in their games while other wore Nike which should be the official sponsor for the Asian Cup. I think they wore Adidas because Nike doesn't have the color to distinguish the referees with the player, but still I'm speechless to see such thing happen in such a high-level competition.

    1. I remember Faghani wearing an Adidas red kit in his first group stage match.

    2. For Faghani, the blue kit would have been no problem yesterday.
      For Ming, no Nike colour was possible today, but it could have been easily solved by UAE playing in their white home kit.

  17. JAPAN - SAUDI ARABIA, Ravshan Irmatov

    Video clips:

    Yellow Cards (38', 54', 81')

    Japan no.8 PI? (9', 10', 25', 76', 88')

    Offside Decisions to compute for Abdukhamidullo Rasulov (4', 5', 17', 34', 59')

    Easiest game of the championship for Irmatov, and his best performance. Really, not very much happened in this sonorous match. All three YCs given were fully correct in addition to no glaring missing bookings, and no controversial in-box situations had to be evaluated.
    As we can be used to, lenient regarding SPA and dissent, but without bigger problems this time.
    I am still never fully convinced watching Irmatov. He never really 'takes charge' of his matches in my opinion. This time it didn't matter, expected level performance.

    Probably this is enough to qualify him for a further match, which he doesn't really deserve. Maybe AFC prove me wrong, but for my taste a shame that AAR1 for this match, Valentin Kovalenko, ended this championship with only one match, I like his way of refereeing (he does 'take charge' of his matches, unlike his compatriot).

    1. Still a big name within the AFC and on the International level. So that still weighs heavy with the AFC Ref Comm. But I do agree that solely based on recent performances. Kovalenko is the better referee at the moment.

    2. Nothing much to add, expected level in a rather easy game (excellent spot on the PI though, should have been a card at the third time the least).

      However, Irmatov's disciplinary control is in my eyes still superior to many referees in the competition (especially Sato and comparing these two matches even Faghani) and that can keep him going. Kovalenko didn't impress me much in that regard in his (also not overly challenging match), his line was IMHO not good.

  18. I was very impressed by the Qatari referee Al-Jassim in Australia v Uzbekistan. Unlike some referees at this tournament he wasn't afraid to show cards just because it was early in the game. In fact he showed a yellow card in the first 2 minutes of both halves. All his cards looked correct to me. Well done.

    1. The way all referee's should be encouraged to do. If only all Referee Committee's in all tournaments allowed the referee's to use the tools that are available to them. And not handcuff them and force an unnatural style upon them.

  19. Big decision in extra time by Fu Ming to directly decide if the home nation would get to the Quarter Finals.

    1. Blatant dive by Emirati player which the referee fell for as if he was a rookie newbie.
      To make it worse. Fu Ming makes a "pulling" gesture to justify his call. So he says it was a pull back, yet the Emirati player fell forward. Hmmm?

    2. Very soft penalty, not a full mistake of course, but still to be considered as wrong for me.

  20. The UAE was gifted a ghost PK in their opening match and were once again gifted yet another one today. Blatant dive by Emirati player and Fu Ming fell for it like a newbie. Fu Ming? More like "Fuming" which is what the Kyrgyzstan team should be after seeing the decision that eliminated them from the tournament.

    1. I'm sorry, but that's not really an acceptable joke...

    2. And your point is? Other than showing that you lack a sense of humor. Lighten up and laugh every once in a while. It's good for you.


  22. AUSTRALIA - UZBEKISTAN, Abdulrahman Al-Jassim

    The more I see of this referee, the more impressed I get. First things first, no crucial scenes in this game, so any praise I give might sound overstated, but for me, this was an excellent performance, the best I've seen in the knockout stages so far.

    Why? We have talked about his style of refereeing and for me it is perfect. He's absolutely NOT afraid to show early yellow cards (one in the 1st minute in IRQ-VIE, in this game one in the 2nd) when there are fouls that demand such action. But even more important he not only keeps his line, but also does not solve everything with cards. For me, this is the perfect line between two negative extremes: Virtually no cards (as seen in far too many WC matches or Ramos/Sato) or "card festivals" (Al Ghamdi 2010 in Switzerland - Chile or Undiano in the same year in Germany - Serbia come to mind). He handed out three YCs in the first 25 minutes, but whenever possible, he used warnings. His foul detection was excellent and always on point. Al-Jassim is very strong in correctly identifying what kind of foul it was and if a warning is enough or it has to be a caution.

    So: 4 YCs given for rough fouls, one for SPA. All of them correct. Even more impressive were his warnings (18', 78', 88', 99', 113'). Some of them could have been solved with a card, but none of them were mandatory and the referee had made his line clear. Overall, the number of fouls were low and after the early cards, these fouls disappeared - the players had gotten his message!

    Elegant refereeing style, excellent disciplinary management, and in this match also some excellent advantages given (25', 52', 73'). Al-Jassim was very alert, his communication with the players was firm when needed, but always respectful (e.g. 78' Warning for UZB #6 who was already on a YC).

    I really have nothing to complain about. The QF appointment in China - Iran (Thanks @Joaquin for the post!) is more than deserved.

    1. I absolutely agree. I thought he was excellent. Could he be a an outside chance for the final?


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