Philippe Aw, Akbar Nawas disagree as Hougang draw in Singapore Cup
They're two of Singapore's brightest young coaches, but Philippe Aw and Akbar Nawas disagreed about a penalty call that may decide which team goes through to the 2017 Singapore Cup final.
Aw's Hougang United drew 2-2 with Akbar's Philippines' side Global-Cebu FC in the first leg of the semifinals at Jalan Besar Stadium on Wednesday night. The second leg will be played at Hougang Stadium on Saturday.
But Aw believes that Hougang should have been awarded an added-time penalty that would have swung the tie in their favour.
The arm of Global's Wesley dos Santos was struck by the ball inside the six-yard box, but referee Nathan Chan ignored cries for a penalty. It prompted Hougang players and staff to angrily approach Chan after full-time.
A third away goal -- Jalan Besar is considered Global-Cebu's "home" while they play as a guest team in the Singapore Cup -- would have virtually secured the tie for Hougang.
"The way it finished, it was disappointing. It was a clear penalty and decisions like this will make or break a team," Aw told the New Paper.
"I can accept it if it was 50-50, but it was a clear, clear penalty."
But former Tampines Rovers boss Akbar, the first Singaporean to work in the new Philippines Football League, saw it a different way.
"I don't think [it was a penalty], but I have yet to see the video," Akbar said.
The visitors had taken a 2-1 lead in the 68th minute through Trinidad and Tobago striker Darryl Roberts before a super Fabian Kwok strike got Hougang back on level terms with five minutes remaining.
With Home United trailing 3-1 to Japan's Albirex Niigata (S) after the first leg of their semifinal, Hougang could be Singapore's last hope of football silverware this season.
Aw agrees that the Cheetahs will need to cut out defensive mistakes to keep the Philippine outfit in check.
"We've got 90 minutes, 120 minutes or even a penalty shoot-out to keep it alive. That gives us great motivation to prepare well for [the second leg]," Aw said.
Hougang are likely to face an under-strength Global side with right winger Paolo Bugas expected to miss the second leg through injury. As it was, there were only two substitutes on their bench at Jalan Besar Stadium on Wednesday night.
"If we have to play with 10 men, we would," a defiant Akbar said.
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