Lebanon coach Miodrag Radulovic hits out at ref after Qatar defeat

Miodrag Radulovic was incensed after Lebanon's defeat at the hands of Qatar. (AFP)
Updated 10 January 2019
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Lebanon coach Miodrag Radulovic hits out at ref after Qatar defeat

  • Miodrag Radulovic claims the Cedars were playing against 12 men.
  • Qatar won the Group E clash 2-0 in Al Ain.

Lebanon coach Miodrag Radulovic said his team were playing “against 12 or 13” as he slammed the referee in an extended rant after Wednesday’s Asian Cup defeat by Qatar.
Radulovic said Chinese referee Ma Ning had ruined Lebanon’s chances by ruling out a first-half goal which would have put them 1-0 up against the 2022 World Cup hosts.
Qatar eventually won the Group E game 2-0 after second-half goals from Bassam Al-Rawi and Almoez Ali, leaving Lebanon waiting for their first ever Asian Cup win.
“It’s difficult to talk after such a game because I teach my team to play 11 against 11 players, but (this was) 11 against 12 or 13, meaning the referees,” fumed the Montenegrin.
“When you play... perfect, tactically disciplined, you score 1-0 and they steal our goal, it’s very difficult to continue after that,” he added.
Ali Hamam’s volley on 39 minutes was ruled out for a shove by Lebanon’s George Felix Melki, a decision that enraged the animated Radulovic on the touchline.
Qatar finally got their breakthrough 20 minutes into the second half from a free-kick just outside the box which was given for Hassan Maatouk’s handball.
Radulovic claimed the officiating was “not 50-50,” saying that Qatar committed “more than 20 fouls” but did not receive any yellow cards.
“We played textbook football but we’re a poor country, we don’t have a budget like Qatar and you can’t compare with them on this,” Radulovic said.
“When they canceled the goal, my players lost concentration, they lost confidence, they saw what happened and it was very difficult after that to continue with such a game,” he added.
“They broke our morale and our confidence.”
However, Qatar coach Felix Sanchez said he had no complaints about the officiating and that he agreed with the decision to disallow Lebanon’s goal.
“I think the goal was a foul. I saw the replay on TV... and I agree with (the officials),” said the Spaniard.


Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City ease past Huddersfield to cut Liverpool’s Premier League lead

Updated 20 January 2019
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Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City ease past Huddersfield to cut Liverpool’s Premier League lead

HUDDERSFIELD: Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola was far from satisfied despite a 3-0 win away to Huddersfield Town on Sunday that saw his side cut Liverpool’s lead at the top of the Premier League table to four points.
Liverpool’s compelling 4-3 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday heaped huge pressure back onto reigning champions City but they were rarely troubled by a Town side that look a certain bet for relegation this season.
City’s first goal, a deflected strike for Danilo in the 18th minute, brought up their 100th goal of the season in all competitions before Raheem Sterling scored a diving header from Leroy Sane’s cross in the 54th minute and Sane himself made it 3-0 with a calm finish just two minutes later.
For Guardiola, it should have been an afternoon of enjoyment as his side again proved their willingness to push Liverpool all the way this season.
The City manager, however, has forged a footballing reputation based on sublime performances as well as ruthless goalscoring and, on that basis, his team’s showing in West Yorkshire was not a success as the visitors never really clicked into gear on a day against a Huddersfield side who had parted company with manager David Wagner on Monday.
“During the season you have these kind of games,” Guardiola said. “It is important to win. We have scored many goals in all competitions.
“(But) the way we played, we didn’t deserve more than three goals. We will improve in the future.
“We have to demand more from ourselves in every game and do our best, but sometimes it’s difficult.
“Today we are happy we have won but after immediately we have to analyze. During the season you have games when maybe you are not in the top level and it is important to win these games.”
Although City’s fans were happier than their manager following this result, Guardiola could at least take some heart from the fact his side again refused to blink first in the race for the title.
For the second consecutive week, City kicked off knowing Liverpool had already won their weekend fixture and that, consequently, the onus was back on his players to secure three points as well.
Once again, Guardiola’s side managed to do that following up the 3-0 victory over Wolves with this showing and the City manager was more than happy to remind everybody that silverware is not handed out for another four months.
“One team has been better but we’re in January and there’s many more games to play,” he added.
“You don’t win or lose the Premier League in January. We have to focus on what we have to do. If Liverpool win, we have to win. And if Liverpool lose then we also have to win.”
This match was a baptism of fire for Huddersfield’s caretaker boss Mark Hudson and while the Terriers showed impressive fight to inspire some hope this season, this defeat still left them 10 points adrift of safety.
If, as expected, the Borussia Dortmund Under-23 coach Jan Siewert is appointed as Wagner’s permanent replacement, nobody would blame him if he spent his first day in the job preparing for a return to the second-tier Championship next season.
“It’s been a long week,” admitted Hudson.