The fall-out from Adelaide United’s controversial 3-1 FFA Cup win over Sydney FC continues, with the independent Match Review Panel determining that there was no error by referee Ben Williams in issuing a red card to Sky Blue Nikola Petkovic and that his one-match suspension will stand.
[quote]The MRP issued a statement claiming that there was “no Obvious Error within the meaning of the regulations” made by Williams, meaning Petkovic will be forced to sit out Sydney’s A-League match with Brisbane on Friday night.[/quote]
The MRP issued a statement claiming that there was “no Obvious Error within the meaning of the regulations” made by Williams, meaning Petkovic will be forced to sit out Sydney’s A-League match with Brisbane on Friday night.
The incident occurred in the 88th minute of the match with the scores locked at one-all and was made even more controversial as Williams did not book Petkovic straight away, instead waiting for Adelaide’s forward thrust to peter out before issuing the straight red card.
The booking proved decisive as United took advantage in extra time, with two goals from the boot of Bruce Djite sealing the win and guaranteeing the Reds a place in the semi-finals.
Sky Blues coach Graham Arnold was visibly incensed on the sidelines and perhaps had some cause, with most commentators agreeing after reviewing the decision that the straight red card Petkovic received was excessive.
Arnold made his feelings known in his post-match press conference.
“It’s extremely disappointing. I feel sorry for the fans that came out tonight, I feel sorry for the viewers that had to watch it on TV but most of all I feel sorry for the players.
What can you do? It wouldn’t have gone to extra-time (if Petkovic wasn’t sent off). We would have beaten them in 90 minutes.”
Signs were good early for Adelaide when Sydney’s left-back Mat Jurman was forced to withdraw from the match after aggravating a knee injury during the warm-up.
The Reds flew out of the blocks, their quick passing game troubling the Sydney defence.
Sergio Cirio opened the scoring for the visitors in the 28th minute after receiving a beautiful lofted-ball on his chest from midfield play-maker Marcelo Carrusca and calmly slotting it past Sydney keeper Ivan Necevski.
The Sky Blues players slowly worked their way into the contest however and began to assert themselves.
The equaliser came in the 51st minute through Alex Brosque, who gleefully accepted Nick Carle’s square-up ball and put it past Eugene Galekovic.
Sydney looked to have Adelaide on the back foot until Petkovic's sending-off.
With only ten men in extra time the Sky Blues fought valiantly, but Djite’s goals in the 99th and 111st minutes snuffed out any hope of advancement for the home side.
Both teams will have very little time to reflect on the match, with Sydney playing the winless Roar at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night, while Adelaide will take on Perth Glory at Coopers Stadium on Sunday.
What did you think of Ben Williams’ decision?