Victory see red

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It was a penalty to Sydney FC and a red card against Tim Hoogland that ultimately cost Melbourne Victory the 4-1 deficit on Saturday night.

But once again, an A-League VAR decision did not pass without controversy.

First, here is the incident that left Victory in anger.

Victory defender Hoogland received a straight red card for what was considered a poor challenge against Sydney’s Trent Buhagiar.

Hoogland was seen to drag Buhagiar down in the box, however, he attempted to argue that his shoulder-to-shoulder challenge was legal and a display of him outmuscling his opponent.

Referee Shaun Evan conceded the challenge as one from behind therefore deserving of the red card, which is how VAR is believed to have seen the incident.

The challenge occurred inside the box but for anyone who may not have seen the incident live, Hoogland was the last defender for Victory.

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As VAR was in favour of Evan’s decision Hoogland received the red card and the penalty decision stood.

Hoogland pleaded his innocence to the fourth official upon review and shortly was joined by captain Ola Toivonen who tried to help defend his teammate.

The challenge on Buhagiar was certainly poor by Hoogland and in Sydney’s defence, the penalty was deserved.

Rubbing salt in the wound was once loved Victory man Kosta Barbarouses who stood up for the penalty kick.

The Kiwi made absolutely no mistake, sending his strike past goalkeeper Lawrence Thomas.

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Whilst the Sky Blue’s had practically won the game, Victory was not arguing their case because they knew they had lost it from missed opportunities early on.

Victory coach Carlos Salvachua said the loss was unacceptable and a consequence of not respecting the defensive structure of a top-performing side.

“We created the same number of chances in the first and the second half, but we didn’t score, and we opened the game for them, that’s it,” he said.

“Because we stopped to do the movements like in the first half and the structure and a team without structure is not a team, it’s just individual players.”

The three-goal win to Sydney is a step back towards the league’s dominance following their shock loss to Western Sydney Wanderers last week.

It leaves Victory sitting in ninth, an uncomfortable position for the remainder of the season.

Feature Image Credit: The Football Sack

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Tricia Mifsud
Covering Melbourne Victory during the 2019/2020 season. Bachelor of Media and Communications (Sports Journalism) at Latrobe University. Dedicated to writing articles that sports fans want to read.