India-Pak final was spoiled by digraceful umpiring, says Nobbs

Even during the most intense situations, Michael Nobbs and Sardar Singh have rarely let their emotions get the better of them. Always calm and composed, the chief coach and the captain of the Indian hockey team bring an air of tranquility to the dressing room, which has often been the centre of ego clashes and flaring tempers.

So it certainly came as a surprise when the two men lost their cool while coming down heavily on the match officials after Indi''s defeat to Pakistan in a thrilling final of the Asian Champions Trophy in Doha on Thursday. Pakistan beat the defending champions 5-4 but a controversial decision by the two South Korean referees infuriated Indian players, who threatened to walk off the pitch.

Nobbs lashed out at the disgraceful refereeing and labelled Pakistan's win 'hollow' on Friday. "The match was a very good one but spoiled by some very disgraceful umpiring. I think the standard of the play was way above the standard of the umpires. It's a hollow victory for Pakistan," Nobbs fumed.

Hit & miss

In the 67th minute, forward Danish Mujtaba missed an easy goal right in front of the post but a Pakistani player elbowed an Indian player. The referee had no hesitation in awarding penalty stroke to India. A strong protest by the Pakistani players followed after which an opinion was sought from the third umpire, who overruled the decision and awarded a free-hit to them.

Nobbs said the incident highlighted the need of having video referrals during key matches. "The video clearly shows it was penalty stroke. How do you get an umpire to change his decision when the other umpire is 50 metres away? He is right in front of the situation, the Pakistanis mobbed him and he changed his mind. It's a clear case of having the requirement of referrals for top teams in big matches" Nobbs remarked.

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