Popovic slams referee over Clisby decision

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Perth Glory coach Tony Popovic has slammed referee Kurt Ams for not awarding Central Coast Mariners’ defender Jack Clisby a second yellow card in Glory’s 2-1 defeat at HBF Park.

The win is Central Coast’s first in nine attempts in Perth, and Glory’s first defeat of the season but Popovic felt the result could well have been different.

Clisby had already been put in the book for a late challenge on Bruno Fornaroli when he took down Ivan Franjic as he tried to cut inside.

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“There’s a clear yellow card from Clisby, it totally changes the game,” Popovic said.

“They’re already sitting off, they’re protecting a lead, and then they go a player down, it changes the game. You don’t need long to score a goal in football.”

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A foul was given in the 66th minute and Ams reached purposefully into his pocket before coming up empty and letting Clisby, the former Glory defender, off with another talking to.

A second yellow would have left the Glory with 24 minutes at least to attack a would-be 10-men Mariners defence.

“With a player less, for 25 or 30 minutes, it makes a difference. That certainly didn’t help,” he said.

“It doesn’t matter if he has a yellow card or not, it’s a clear yellow card offence.”

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Popovic said the club would look to follow up on the issue during the week.

“It’d be good to know why that wasn’t done,” he said.

“The referee comfortably gave those out in the first half for similar challenges and we all expected that to be a yellow, with him already being on a yellow, he should have been off.”

Ams was in constant dialogue with players throughout the game, issuing Mariners defender Ziggy Gordon a yellow card after a lengthy battle with Glory defender Soobeom Kim.

Glory centre-back Gregory Wuthrich also went into the book before being taken off in the first half.

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Popovic did also admit to his side’s defensive flaws that led to two first-half goals. The second goal, in particular, was a direct result of a Jacob Tratt defensive error.

“The backline in particular didn’t look as cohesive as we have in the first rounds,” he said.

“Credit to Central Coast, they stretched us, and we didn’t handle that well and didn’t match their intensity.

“Defensively we were not good. We were poor today.”

Perth’s fresh new defensive group this season may be pushed even further in the coming weeks, with an apparent hamstring injury to Osama Malik.

New signing James Meredith and the injured Tomislav Mrcela are still weeks away from being available to fill the void, both are regaining fitness with an aim to play in coming months.

Perth heads to Newcastle next week to face the Newcastle Jets who were beaten comprehensively by Sydney FC on Friday night.

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