BANGKOK — Team Thailand was put down by Saudi Arabia in a 2018 World Cup qualifying match Thursday night, and many people decided to blame the refs.
Kicking off their first match in the final stage Asian qualifying round in Riyadh on Thursday night, Thailand ended up going home with a goose egg, losing 1-0 to the home team from a point scored by late penalty with less than 10 minutes on the clock.
The game-changing penalty point came Saudi Arabia’s way by of Chinese referee Fu Ming in the 81st minute. Fu Ming called out Thailand’s Sarach Yooyen for fouling Fahad Al-Muwallad.
Many fans watching on their televisions back home second-guessed the official, saying they saw no foul on Sarach’s part.
When it cost Thailand the match, Thai football fans were united in anger along with some supportive viewers in other countries to rally to the Facebook page of the Asian Football Confederation and register their grievances.
The most-liked comment showed the quality of discourse:
“Thailand already show a good game and this is not our luck,” wrote user Muhammad Masor from Colombia. “Arab just win by a dirty penalty. Loser.”
A Brazilian fan offered a more principled critique.
“I am completely angry with this. This penalty never existed,” wrote another user Rafael Saltori from Brazil. “The foul in Teerasil in the 1st half was inside the area, not out.”
A number of commentators said they saw at least two plays in which Thailand should have been awarded penalty kicks.
Thailand will have its next chance Tuesday in Bangkok against Japan, the previous nation to infuriate Thai sports fans by winning.