Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold branded the refereeing of his side’s FFA Cup clash against Adelaide United an embarrassment after a late red card turned the game.
Sky blue defender Nikola Petkovic was shown red for a challenge on Reds midfielder Fabio Ferreira with the score locked at 1-1 after Sergio Ciro had given the Reds the lead before skipper Alex Brosque came off the bench at half-time to equalise.
With Sydney down to 10 men, the game went to extra time and Bruce Djite twice found the net to give Adelaide a convincing 3-1 win in a game the frequently looked close to boiling over.
Fans chanted abuse at referee Ben Williams - who had already made contentious decisions earlier in the game - and Arnold was heard shouting “You’re an embarrassment” at the official during the clash.
At his post-match press conference, Arnold again muttered “what an embarrassment” as he took his seat.
“I’m extremely disappointed,” he said. “I feel sorry for all the fans that came out tonight and I feel sorry for all the viewers that had to watch it on TV.
“Most of all I feel sorry for the players, but what can you do? I made my feeling known with emotion and I don’t think I was the only one in the place that thought it.
“It would have to be the first time I have seen a red card given after they have played on. Both of them got up and chased the ball. Amazing. But that’s life.”
Arnold said the club would definitely appeal Petkovic’s red card but wouldn’t discuss a formal complaint on the standard of officiating.
“I don’t run the game in Australia. Tony Popovic wasn’t happy at the weekend, now it’s my turn,” he said. “I guess that’s what we have to put up with.
“I don’t know who they are answerable to. Is he one of the best?”
Arnold said he hoped the FFA would overturn the red in time for this weekend’s clash against Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium.
“The match review panel got together quickly to suspend Sasa Ognenovski for one game and Saba for one game,” he said. “If they're going to overturn it, hopefully they will overturn it quickly.
“It’s disappointing not to go further in the FFA Cup but under certain circumstances, it can’t be helped but we’ll be confident next time we meet them.”
He said he was pleased the way his heavily-rotated side matched the largely full-strength Reds and insisted victory would have been theirs if they hadn’t lost Petkovic.
“It wouldn’t have gone to extra time,” he said. “We would have beaten them in 90 minutes.
“I wasn’t thrilled with our first half but second half, until the red card, I thought there was only going to be one winner. We totally took over and dominated and got the goal back early and we could have maybe had another one.
“We didn’t need extra time with the scheduling but we’ve got through it and we have to recover quick, freshen up and get ready for Friday.”comments