Van’t Schip urges better protection for players after fiery draw

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Melbourne City coach John van’t Schip has criticised a number of contentious decisions, including an incident involving Rhyan Grant and Fernando Brandan, in the wash up of last night’s 1-1 draw with Sydney FC in front of 14,668 fans at ANZ Stadium.

The first half clash, which appeared to involve Grant making contact with Brandan’s face, epitomised the intense dual between the two sides, and stoked van’t Schip’s concern after the match.

“We have to start protecting football, protecting players that are getting the ball and want to do something with it, and I think it’s the other way around a lot of times,” said the Dutchman.

“I’m not only talking about my own team’s situation, but football in general. We should make sure we can see more and better football by protecting the attacking players.”

On first viewing the incident seemed to support van’t Schip’s concern after Grant appeared to catch Brandan in the face, but replays suggest that while there was contact, the Argentinian certainly made the most of it.

The clash between Grant and Brandan follows the controversy that emerged after City’s match against Brisbane Roar last week in which van’t Schip accused Brisbane defender Jade North of trying to get Bruno Fornaroli sent off for a similar incident.

However, van’t Schip was quick to dismiss any similarities.

“There’s a big difference between just touching someone, but tonight there was a push and there’s a big difference between those.”

The Melbourne City coach was equally frustrated by the 80th minute penalty decision which gave Sydney a share of the spoils, and with Bobo’s 77th minute reckless challenge on Ivan Franjic.

“Bobo can’t kick a player out like that. You can see his studs in Ivan’s leg and for me that’s a red card, but if you’re not consistent those things will happen.”

While van’t Schip was disappointed with his team’s subpar performance he wasn’t unhappy with a point, suggesting his team were not quite on form against the league leaders.

“We could have played better today as we weren’t at our best level, but there were a lot of positive signs.”

Aside from Brandan’s superb first half strike which gave City a 1-0 lead at the break, one such positive was the debut of 19-year-old centre-back Ruon Tongyik who looked right at home in the City defense and earned the praise of his coach after full-time.

“Ruon is a different kind of player. We knew that Sydney were going to use the long ball, and you can see that Ruon is physically very strong, and also on the ball he’s a player that can play.”

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