Gombau rues defeat from the cheap seats

Adelaide United coach Josep Gombau has criticised the cheap seating for A-League coaches after  he became entangled in a second-half melee in the Reds 3-1 New Year's Eve loss to Wellington Phoenix.


A physical clash between Manny Muscat and Pablo Sanchez sparked a brief but fiery fracas, during which Gombau left his chair and ventured to the Phoenix bench where stern words were exchanged.

Gombau said relationships were fine post-game after he congratulated the victorious visitors, but insisted the incident would have been less likely with safer sideline facilities.

The Spaniard will get his wish when the A-League takes control of the high-tech covered team benches specially designed for AFC Asian Cup.

"In the end what happened is part of football," Gombau said of the melee post-match.

"At that moment I felt maybe Pablo could be injured.

"When we finished the game the first thing I did is to say congratulations to them, to all the players, Muscat also.

"The problem is we don't use a proper bench - we just put the seats there.

"These seats are very close to the field and it's not safe.

"You need to put a proper bench in every single stadium, far away from the pitch and do what is most safe for the players.

"One day a player will have a big injury."

Wednesday’s fracas evoked memories of the infamous 2006 stoush between Kevin Muscat and former Reds coach John Kosmina.

While the recent altercation had no direct impact on the scoreboard, it appeared Wellington regrouped and refocused more successfully, scoring twice afterwards through young substitute Tyler Boyd.

Boyd's second goal came after Gombau, with United trailing by a goal and earning a 92nd-minute corner, threw inexperienced goalkeeper Paul Izzo into attack.

The death-or-glory ploy backfired as the Phoenix gained possession and scored on the counter.

Gombau defended the unorthodox tactic.

“We tried to get something from the last corner," he said.

"That was my decision. I felt it was the last corner (and we wanted) one extra man (Izzo) there.

"To lose 1-2 is the same as to lose 1-3."

Despite the margin blowing out, Gombau was pleased with the effort his undermanned charges put in. Playmakers Marcelo Carrusca and Fabio Ferreira are expected to return from injury and defenders Nigel Boogaard and Tarek Elrich from suspension for Monday's blockbuster against league leaders Perth Glory.

Gombau said he was “satisfied” with the effort of his depleted side.

"We made mistakes that brought to them their chances to score” he said.

"Especially the second goal was a mistake that we did.

"Happy with the way we played, the football we bring and the chances we created but unhappy with the result."