The UAE’s Al Ahli have lodged an official protest with the Asian Football Confederation after their 2-1 loss to Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli on Tuesday evening in Jeddah.
Al Ahli (UAE) were leading 1-0 in the second half when, on the hour mark, Qatari referee Abdullah Balideh showed midfielder Majed Hassan his second yellow card for a foul on Bruno Cesar, leaving the 2013-14 Arabian Gulf League champions with just ten men for the remaining half hour of play.
Hassan, however, did not commit the foul. In a case of mistaken identity, Balideh issued the card to Hassan, number 88, instead of Everton Ribeiro, number 8.
Following the dismissal, Al Ahli (KSA) scored twice, including the 94th-minute game winner, to win 2-1 and seal their qualification for the Round of 16. The result leaves Al Ahli (UAE) needing a win in their final group match against Tractor Sazi, while also relying on Uzbekistan’s Nasaf losing to Al Ahli (KSA), to also seal their progression.
The Red Knights coach Cosmin Olaroiu was fuming after the match, claiming the decision changed the course of the match.
“Errors of this kind are not permitted to occur in such games, and regardless of the verdict, there are three other officials who did not lift a finger,” he said.
“There were two sides of the match; the first one was before the red card while the second phase was after we played with 10 men because things changed and our opponents took advantage of their superiority.
“We opened the scoring in the match and held on to our lead but the red card changed the course of the match because we had to make some changes which affected us.
“Our opponents are a good side and they deserved to qualify from the group but we will be holding on to our chances until the end.”
Hassan too was seething after the match, having to be restrained by Olaroiu and coaching staff.
Football Channel Asia has contacted the AFC for comment.