Abu Dhabi: Refereeing mistakes marred the seventh week of the Etisalat Pro-League.
The blunders were evident in three matches in particular and the coaches of the teams affected said officials’ errors played a role in deciding the outcome of these matches, especially as TV replays and analysis on sports channels proved the mistakes.
In the match between Dubai and Ajman, which ended 1-0 to Dubai, referee Abdullah Naji disallowed a correct goal for Ajman, scored by Founeke Sy. It would have levelled the scores and earned Sy’s team a point.
Meanwhile, Papa Waigo of Al Wahda scored a goal against Dibba from a cross by his colleague Marcelo, but the goal was ruled out by referee Sultan Al Marzougi on the grounds that the ball went out for a goal kick before being crossed by Marcelo. Replays showed the ball did not cross the line.
But Abdul Wahid Khateri was the king of blunderers as he officiated the Al Shabab vs Al Ain match, in which he awarded both teams controversial penalty kicks and allowed Esmail Ahmad of Al Ain to score a goal from a clear foul inside the box.
Khater seemed to realise the unfairness of his decision to allow Esmail’s goal and awarded Al Shabab a penalty in injury time. which even Marcos Paqueta, the coach of Al Shabab, admitted was not a penalty.
Al Ain, the reigning champions, became the new leaders of the league with 16 points, while Al Wahda and Bani Yas are now second and third respectively with 15 points each. Former leaders Al Nasr met their first defeat of the season against Bani Yas and retreated to fifth place with 14 points, behind Al Ahli on goal difference.
Ittihad Kalba moved up one place from the bottom following their first victory this season, when they beat Al Dhafra 2-1.