The first half of the A-League grand final was marred by controversy on both sides with Melbourne City and Sydney FC fans ruing crucial calls.
City were dominant in the opening stages as they controlled possession to heap pressure on Sydney, eventually going down 1-0 in extra time.
After Craig Noone took too many touches to squander an early chance, City looked to have finally capitalised through Harrison Delbridge.
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A ricochet cross inside sat up beautifully for the defender who sent it through but the VAR would have the final say.
In a controversial decision, it was ruled that Lachlan Wales was in front of Sky Blues keeper Andrew Redmayne in an offside position and blocked his view.
“I don’t think Lachie was in Redmayne’s view, he was five yards to the right but the decision has been made, we have to move on but I don’t think it was right,” City striker Jamie Maclaren said at halftime.
The Fox Football commentary team tended to agree with the decision on the basis that technically Wales was offside and obstructing Redmayne from seeing the shot.
“He’s been summoned to look at Lachie Wales obstructing the view of Redmayne there,” Brenton Speed said.
“The ball doesn’t come via Lachie Wales but is he obstructing the view of the No. 1?”
“This is going to be a very tough decision,” Mark Bosnich added.
“If you look at it right there, he is directly in front of Redmayne there is no doubt about it.
“It could be argued so are the Sydney players to a lesser extent. Just as he strikes he is directly in front of him.”
Bosnich said the close call was the perfect opportunity for Steve Corica to fire up his team after a slow start.
“The better team has come up short in the early stages,” he said.
“You could see Steve Corica in the technical area using this as an opportunity to get right up his team. You blokes wake up.”
City coach Erick Mombaerts did not show any emotional reaction to either decision in stark contrast to Patrick Nisnorbo.
“Erick Mombaerts, when the goal was scored, didn’t move,” Fox Football’s sideline eye Adam Peacock said.
“Everyone else on the bench jumped up obviously.
“Mombaerts stayed still as everyone went up, didn’t celebrate and then they got wind that it was a VAR and Paddy Nisnorbo, the attack dog if you like, came over and started having a go at the fourth official, could not believe the decision.
“Mombaerts the whole time, sat still.”
It was not the only contentious call though with Sydney fans later complaining they were robbed of a penalty.
Prolific striker Adam Le Fondre went down in the box with replays seeming to show the potential of contact being initiated from Curtis Good.
“Probably should have had a penalty, 100 per cent penalty from what I saw on the big screen,” Corica said.
The Fox Football commentary team seemed to side with the Sydney coach, with three of four arguing Chris Beath should have pointed to penalty mark.
“It’s a great touch, he’s in on goal,” Andy Harper said.
“He’s got him. If Chris Beath gives a penalty, the VAR is not going to overturn it.
“That’s a penalty eight days a week.”
“100 per cent, no doubt about that because his next touch is a strike at goal,” Robbie Slater agreed.
“I don’t know how he doesn’t see that’s a penalty because as you said before Harps, why would you fall over, his next touch is a strike at goal to probably score.”
Bosnich was the one voice of difference, arguing that Le Fondre initiated the contact.
“No penalty for me,” Bosnich said.
“I think it is actually Le Fondre who initiates the contact with his leg into the opposition player’s leg. So I think he feels his leg going into the opposition player’s leg and just goes over.”