All that happened after the final whistle had been blown by the Iranian referee whom the Malaysian players generally felt that his decision making during the 1-0 defeat to Vietnam was baffling to say the least. Just before the added time in second half was up, La'Vere Corbin-Ong looked like he was fouled at the edge of the VIetnam box but Mirzabeigi waved play on.
While there's no guarantee that Malaysia would have found the equaliser even if the free kick had been awarded in favour of the away side, it still left question in Aidil Zafuan's mind and the centre back ran towards Mirzabeigi to demands answers but none was forthcoming.
"I did not undestand the referee's decision to give me a yellow card. I went to him only to ask and he straight showed me a card. I wanted to ask why he made that decision on that challenge on Corbin. He didn't give me any answer, just straight flashed the card. Perhaps his reasoning was that I ran straight at him, whatever it is there's no choice but to accept it," explained Aidil.
The 32-year-old defender was undoubtedly Malaysia's best performer on a night where the bar wasn't set particularly high. Gone was the high energy pressing and attacking verve that was shown in previous matches as the team almost looked like they froze against Vietnam.
Ultimately what went on at My Dinh Stadium puts Malaysia in a lot of pressure with five group matches left to be played. Currently sitting in fourth place with only Indonesia propping up the table in Group G, the signs are looking ominious and Aidil is demanding that the back-to-back fixtures at Bukit Jalil National Stadium be treated as life or death for Malaysia's qualification hopes.
"If we look at our performance and the end result, I think Vietnam deserved to win. Because we did not play our normal game, like what we did in previous matches. So we have to accept that our performance was not where we wanted it to be. We have to learn and improve what needs be. After this by hook or by crook, we have to win our two home matches against Thailand and Indonesia.
"We cannot use the pitch as an excuse because Vietnam also played on the same pitch. Maybe some players were nervous. Vietnam didn't give us any chance to score. There were also mistakes that we made which we need to improve. We can't give any excuse for our performance," added Aidil.
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Keputusan sama seperti final AFF. Bagaimana anda lihat persembahan 🇲🇾 malam ini? . Same result as the AFF final, what do you make of 🇲🇾's performance? . #WCQ2022 #ACQ2023 #VieMas #HarimauMalaya #Malaysia
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