A very healthy crowd turned out in Sydney’s South West to watch Macarthur host a fiery thriller against Sydney FC in Round 4 of the A-League Men competition.
A thunderous first half saw Sydney take the lead from the spot in controversial circumstances through Patrick Wood before Macarthur equalised two minutes later through the man who gave the penalty away in Matthew Millar.
Patrick Yazbek would find himself on the receiving end of a yellow card that based on previous calls this season could have been red in the 25th minute as both sides tried to break away from the 1-1 deadlock.
For the second week in a row, a Sydney game would be marred with red card controversy, as Jonathan Aspropotamitis would be shown a yellow, which was upgraded to a red card on VAR review for Denial of a Goal Scoring Opportunity.
Both the penalty and the red card created a lot of controversy for the fixture, with everyone split on the outcome of the decisions.
“The VAR is there for a reason I think and in my opinion, when you look at those decisions (the penalty and the red card) they are very tight and very close and you got to be 100 per cent right in making those decisions,” Macarthur FC coach Dwight Yorke said post-game.
“If you don’t, then obviously for us, we pay the consequences. As I said, certainly the penalty is definitely in my opinion, again, not a penalty.
“You can see Matty’s following the ball and the guy actually bumps into him, so, I don’t understand from the referee’s point of view and the VAR that they don’t go and examine these things and how can you actually see those incidents and come up with the wrong decision.
“For me, that is where the inconsistency of VAR actually highlights all these things and yet the decision makers are getting them wrong.
“I just can’t get my head around it.”
Sydney FC’s coach Steve Corica however, saw it differently than Yorke.
“I think the referee got it right. He looked at both of them. The VAR checked it and for me, I think they’re the right decisions.,” Corica said.
Sydney would take advantage 30 seconds into stoppage time of the first half as Robert Mak would find the back of the net to give the visitors a one-goal lead heading into the break.
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A triple sub for the hosts at halftime saw Craig Noone, Jerry Skotadis, and Kearyn Baccus depart for Charles M’Mombwa, Jed Drew, and Jake McGing to try and breathe some life back into Macarthur as it chased the game a player down.
The decision to sub Noone off was an interesting one, as he looked to be far and away Macarthur’s best player in the first half.
“We had to bring off someone to put in a defender so someone had to miss out somewhere,” Yorke said.
“I thought Craig was extremely fantastic [in the] first half and really put in that magnificent cross for us to get that equaliser.
“I’ve got to make difficult calls, but football decisions. It’s not a personal vendetta against Craig or any of my players. We make football decisions to see what’s best for the team.
“It was a difficult call but we feel with young Jed (Drew) with the legs that he’s got up and down can probably be able to give us a little bit more with 45 minutes.
“Maybe in hindsight, I could have looked at it a little bit differently but as a manager, you live and learn, and you die by the sword, and I made that decision. I’m sure Craig won’t take it personally although he would be disappointed which I expect.
“At the end of the day, I try to do the best for the team which is more important.”
The valiant fightback by Macarthur was not to be, however, as Sydney would dictate the pace of play throughout much of the second half and a superhero performance from Filip Kurto in goals would prevent Sydney from extending its lead until the 83rd minute, as youngster, Adrian Segecic would launch it into the roof of the net from inside the six-yard box.
Not to be outdone, Macarthur would revive its hopes of stealing a point as Anthony Carter would get one past Andrew Redmayne to make it 3-2 in the 87th minute.
It almost ended in a miracle comeback for Macarthur as Anthony Carter got another past Redmayne in the final minute of stoppage time but instead of finding the back of the net, it ricocheted off the crossbar and allowed Sydney to leave victorious.
For Macarthur, a trip to Wellington awaits next as Yorke’s side looks to rebound with just two games to go before the World Cup break, while Sydney FC makes a trip to the Sunshine State to take on Brisbane Roar.
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