VAR drama as Macarthur clinch first semi-finals berth

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A 10-man Macarthur FC eventually proved too good for the Mariners in a game heavily impacted by calls from the referees and VAR.

The Mariners were denied a potential goal when Daniel Bouman was ruled offside, but it appeared a Macarthur defender played at the ball during the lead up.

In the 75th minute James Meredith was handed a straight red for denying a goal scoring opportunity to Marco Urena. VAR ruled a handball by Urena in the seconds before the challenge was not enough to overturn the red card.

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The third major incident occurred during the second half’s injury time, as Jack Clisby dove in very late and high on Michael Ruhs. Referee Shaun Evans was happy with just a yellow, but replays showed it was a clear red.

Neither coach wanted to speak on the controversial calls with Ante Milicic preferring to focus on next weeks game instead.

“I just want to focus on the football and not focus on any dubious decisions that went for or against us,” Milicic said.

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The Bulls were the ones finally celebrating when former Mariner Charles M’Mwomba headed in from close range just three minutes into extra time. The Mariners seemed to switch off and the young Macarthur attackers made them pay.

“We fell asleep and got punished for it, you just can’t do that and not get punished,” Alen Stajcic said.

Macarthur sealed the win with the final kick of the game as Ruhs led a fast counter which saw the only defender, Kye Rowles, collapse to the ground with injury as Ruhs fired the ball past Mark Birighitti.

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It is a disappointing end for the fairy-tale season of the Mariners but now the focus switches to Macarthur.

They have made the semi-finals in just their first season and all that stands between them and a grand final appearance is Melbourne City.

Featured Imade Credit: Macarthur FC

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Ben Johnston
I grew up on the Central Coast and fell in love with football in 2005. Supporter of Mariners, Manchester United and Macclesfield Town.

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