SC Corinthians were crowned the 25th Canon Lion City Cup champions after they emerged victorious in the dreaded penalty shoot-out against PSV Eindhoven at the Jalan Besar Stadium on Sunday.
The match ended 1-1 in regulation time and captain Leonardo Rodrigues scored the winner in the shoot-out with his second kick from the spot to help his side prevail 5-3.
Rodrigues's initial attempt was saved by PSV custodian Mike van de Meulenhof, but referee Irwan Samsudin ordered for the penalty to be retaken after he had adjudged the goalkeeper to have come off early from his line.
That decision was not welcomed by PSV coach Edwin de Wijs, who made known his honest opinion of the matter in the post-match press conference.
“It is a big disappointment because we want to win this game but if it went the fair way, it is fine," he explained.
“I just don’t understand this decision. If you insist [on this rule], then do it earlier.
"Both goalkeepers have always gone off early from their line. But when he [Van de Meulenhof] saves it, then he [referee] decides to whistle and let them shoot again.
"It is disappointing and a disgrace."
Corinthians coach Marcio Zanardi however understands his opposite number's anger, claiming that emotions is part of the game and that his team had also felt the pinch when they had Gustavo Franco sent off in the 20th minute.
“We were also very upset in the early stages when we lost one player," he said.
"We might feel it’s not fair but that’s football. It was a very hard and difficult game, but they went on to the penalties and won the match.
“I am proud of not only the boys that played in this tournament but also the club officials and our chairman as this win is made possible by them also.”
Corinthians’ Matheus da Silva picked up the tournament's Most Valuable Player accolade and the midfielder dedicated it to the rest of the players.
“I feel happy but I must thank all my teammates as without them I could not do my part on the field," he humbly said.
"The hard work which we have put in as a team is the reason I am able to get this award.”
The title might have slipped away from PSV’s grip this year but de Wijs hopes that the organiser will invite the club back for the next edition as they are aiming to go one better next year.
“We hope to come back next year to win this title because it is a fantastic tournament for the boys," he said.
In the other matches played on the same day, Eintracht Frankfurt clinched the third spot in the tournament after they secured a 3-2 victory over Arsenal.
Meanwhile, the NFA U16s cruised to a 4-1 win over their U15 juniors in the 5th/6th-placing game.
Picture courtesy of Red Card