Abu Dhabi: India`s football coach Armando Colaco blamed poor refereeing for his team`s 0-3 loss to United Arab Emirates (UAE) in Saturday`s first-leg of the Asian qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Colaco accused Qatari referee Mohammed Al Dosari for killing the match in the first 23 minutes of the game.
"I think the red cards were unnecessary. It would have been a very nice game as both the teams looked at par but the referee killed it," he said.
India defender Debabrata Roy and star goalkeeper Subrata Paul were red-carded within 23 minutes and visitors gifted a 2-0 lead to the hosts. Hamdan Al Kamali and Mohammed Al Shehhi converted the penalties while Al Hammadi completed the tally nine minutes from time.
"My question is; do those incidents merit a red card? In the case of Roy, the goalkeeper was behind him. He was not the last defender," said Colaco.
Roy was given marching order in the 19th minute for pulling down Ali Al Wehaibi and four minutes later Al Dosari flashed the red card to Paul for charging at Ismail Al Hammadi with a knee up.
The second red card prompted Indian players to hold up the game for six minutes with India`s assistant coach Savio Medeira leading the charge against match officials. It needed the intervention of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) for the resumption of the match.
An infuriated Paul vented his anger in the dressing room and the smashed refrigerator stood testimony to the frustration of the Indian players.
"Subrata had the ball in his hand and he was protecting it when the player came charging at him. I know Subrata had his knee up, but the whole stadium saw who came charging at him. A red card was too harsh because he had the ball with him," said Colaco.
Colaco apologised for the emotional outburst of his players.
"I am sorry. It all happened in the heat of the moment. Unfortunately there was an emotional outburst there with the referees," said Colaco.
Colaco said the players did not want to continue but later relented considering sanctions from AFC and FIFA.
"The players said they did not want to continue, but I thought about the sanctions that could follow from FIFA and AFC. I told them let`s continue and not give any more goals. To walk away is something I don`t think my federation would allow," he said.