VAR and red cards: A drama-fuelled affair sees the Jets take three points

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Despite Melbourne Victory’s dominance in the first half, a number of controversial decisions in the second period resulted in a dramatic comeback for the Newcastle Jets.

In a game full of twists and turns, controversy and brilliance, it was Melbourne Victory who dominated early in their eventual 2-1 loss.

They surely should have hit the lead in the 35th minute. Marco Rojas found Ben Folami down the right flank, and the youngster’s cross made its way to Jason Davidson. The defender’s shot, however, was stopped at the absolute last possible moment by Taylor Regan, with VAR confirming he did indeed clear it in time.

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Victory again thought they had hit the lead via an unlikely overhead strike from Brendan Hamill, before VAR again came into play and ruled the veteran offside.

The frustration was mounting within both the Victory squad and the fanbase. Surely something had to go their way soon.

It took a great deal of persistence, but finally Tony Popovic’s men hit the lead two minutes into stoppage time. Rojas’ first strike was initially saved by Duncan before the keeper had nothing to say about Jake Brimmer’s follow-up, as the Mark Viduka Medallist put it away with ease.

At long last their hard work had paid off to make it 1-0.

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Their joy was short-lived, however, as disaster struck for Victory right out the gates in the second half. Having received a yellow in the first half, captain Josh Brillante found himself trudging off the field inside three minutes of the match’s resumption. The home crowd seemed stunned, barely offering a murmur as their side’s leader exited the match.

The Jets thought they had capitalised on their advantage almost immediately through Jason Hoffman, but once again VAR intervened, ruling he was well offside.

This made it three potential goals in the match so far that VAR had its say on, would this be the story of the match?

The answer would be no, as five minutes later, Arthur Papas’ men were on even terms for real, with Kuach Yuel pouncing on a perfectly weighted through-ball, producing only a meek attempt from Ivan Kelava as the ball lofted over his head.

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The combination of the red card to Brillante, and a well-deserved goal to the Jets, meant the momentum was well and truly residing with the visitors in the 1-1 bout.

In a match filled with overturned decisions and controversial calls, who could have thought the most dramatic moment was yet to come. As Olivier Boumal went to ground in the 68th minute, and referee Daniel Elder pointed to the penalty spot, it became clear that this match was far from done.

Beka Mikeltadze made no mistake as he sent Kelava the wrong way, and the Jets, after being a step slow for most of the match up till that point, were up 2-1.

With Popovic barking orders from the sidelines, Victory made their push to equalise in the final 15 minutes of the contest. And in stoppage time, they forced an incredible goal-line save from Duncan, and peppered the goals from corner kicks.

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With the might of the Victory army fully behind them, the squad seemed invigorated to find one last touch over the line. But it was not to be, as the Jets completed their epic comeback to walk away with three points.

Melbourne Victory: 1 (Brimmer 45+2’)

Newcastle Jets: 2 (Yuel 57’, Mikeltadze 70’)

Stadium: AAMI Park

Referee: Daniel Elder

MELBOURNE VICTORY:  Ivan KELAVA, Jason GERIA, Jason DAVIDSON (Stefan NIGRO 81’), Matthew SPIRANOVIC (Roderick MIRANDA 66’), Leigh BROXHAM, Joshua BRILLANTE, Francesco MARGIOTTA (Chris IKONOMIDIS 53’), Ben FOLAMI (Nishan VELUPILLAY 81’), Brendan HAMILL, Jake BRIMMER, Marco ROJAS (Nicholas D’AGOSTINO 66’)

Unused subs: Matthew ACTON, Birkan KIRDAR

NEWCASTLE JETS: Jack DUNCAN, Dane INGHAM, Jason HOFFMAN, Jordan ELSEY, Mario ARQUES (Jordan O’DOHERTY 73’), Beka MIKELTADZE, Daniel PENHA (Mohamed AL-TAAY 84′), Kostandinos GROZOS (Olivier BOUMAL 62’), Kuach YUEL (Savvas SIATRAVANIS 84’), Taylor REGAN (Lucas MAURAGIS 73’), Angus THURGATE

Unused subs: Michael WEIER, , Eli BABJI

Feature Image Credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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Mitchell Turner
Mitchell Turner
Third Year Undergraduate Arts Student at Monash University (Journalism Major). Generic sports tragic living out my failed dreams of going pro vicariously through other people.

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