Handball controversy costs Wanderers in Victory defeat

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With goal-shy Western Sydney Wanderers just beginning to gain momentum in the A-League Women, there were high hopes for another three points against Melbourne Victory on Sunday.

It was a game that provided plenty of talking points, hope and despair.

From the Wanderers’ strong defence to Victory’s steaming attack, what stole the show was the referee decisions that were made in the second half.

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Victory grappled to find a breakthrough in hot and humid environments at CommBank Stadium, and their only meaningful chance in the first half came when Catherine Zimmerman floated a ball perfectly over the six-yard box.

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Western Sydney’s finest chance came when a badly cleared ball fell to Caitlin Cooper, but the defender’s 25-yard shot went straight into Victory’s Casey Dumont’s arms.

In a defensive move to steal the ball, the Wanderers’ Rosie Galea was booked despite getting to it first.

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VAR footage spurred an uproar in the crowd with screams of dispute against this decision.

Not long after, Galea’s handball gave Markovski the chance to score the game’s first goal in the 74th minute.

Initially uninterested, referee Rachel Mitchenson didn’t take to the commotion but after a prolonged discussion with touchline assistant Amber Morris, she deemed otherwise.

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The game’s winner was scored with ease by Melbourne Victory’s Maja Markovski, the starting debutant making it 1-0 to claim all three points.

A win for the Wanderers would’ve skyrocketed them to fourth place but now they continue to reside in a disappointing eighth place.

Whether they can pick up and build from where they left off will be interesting to see, as the momentum built from their win against Brisbane Roar was a slow burn and has now been lost.

With the season ticking by, the Wanderers must bounce back quickly.

Feature image: Steve Christo

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Paloma Darjani
Covering the Western Sydney Wanderers for the 2021/22 season. Studying a Bachelor of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney.

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