Poor Refereeing decisions steal the show in the Kerala-Maharashtra clash

The eight-goal thriller of a game was marred with some dubious and questionable decisions as Referee played the spoilsport in the Kerala versus Maharashtra fixture that ended in a 4-4 draw

The match ended in a thrilling 4-4 draw, but it was the referee’s decisions that left a sour taste in everyone’s mouth. The match was marred by questionable decisions, with the referee’s calls impacting the game and leading to a number of heated exchanges between players and officials.

One of the contentious moments of the match occurred around the 65th-minute mark when the referee awarded a penalty to Kerala. The decision came after Rizwan Ali attempted to play a ball across the box, which deflected off Tejas Raut’s knees, but the referee pointed to a spot kick, much to the surprise of everyone around. Nijo Gilbert converted the penalty, making it 2-4, as Kerala started making their way back into the game.

But the biggest controversial moment came around the 75th-minute mark when the referee blew for a drinks break, with the game tensely poised at 4-3 in favor of Maharashtra and Kerala had just made a comeback from being 4-1 down to 4-3. Kerala’s equalizer seconds after the break, however, resulted in a huge controversy.

As the referee blew the whistle for the game to restart post the water break, Kerala’s John Paul Jose capitalized on the opportunity with a quick throw-in that resulted in a goal while Maharashtra players were yet to reach their field position. The goal was given and it resulted in protests from the Maharashtra players, and staff as the match was halted for more than 10 minutes.

In the 77th minute, Maharashtra players were yet to take the field as Kerala started the game & scored the equalizer immediately after drinks break

When the game resumed, the referee continued to make some dubious decisions, missing out on awarding a penalty for Maharashtra as the ball hit Kerala defender Vishnu’s hands in the penalty box. At the other end, Kerala were also robbed of a similar shout for a penalty when Maharashtra Goalie Shivam Pednekar brought down Kerala Striker John Paul inside the box.

In the end, the fourth official had given an additional 15 minutes, but the referee decided to blow the final whistle after just 13 minutes, adding to the list of debatable calls made throughout the day.

Earlier in the week, in a game between Goa and Kerala, Kerala midfielder Hrishi Dhatt was booked twice in the first half yet he completed the match without being sent off. Goa later put in an official written complaint to the AIFF, calling out the ‘Grave error’ on the referee’s part for failing to send off the player despite giving him two yellow cards in the same match, robbing goa of man advantage for more than 45 minutes. Goa went on to lose the game eventually.

It is unacceptable that a national-level tournament like the Santosh Trophy can be marred by such poor refereeing. The players and fans deserve to see a fair game, and it is essential that referees are held accountable for their actions.

In the end, the match between Kerala and Maharashtra will be remembered for all the wrong reasons, and it is crucial that steps are taken to ensure that such incidents do not happen in the future.

Also Read: Playing Hero Santosh Trophy abroad a rare opportunity, says Steven Dias

Also Read: Maharashtra lose lead to hold defending champions Kerala to 4-4 draw

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