‘They’re things that change games’- Popovic unimpressed with refereeing in Mariners draw

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Despite the low crowd numbers at Central Coast Stadium, the faithful sure were loud enough. Though, were they loud enough to overturn an obvious yellow card that may have affected the game’s outcome?

Referee controversy was at the forefront of yet another Central Coast Mariners match. However, it was in good fortune for the home team on Wednesday evening in a 1-1 draw with Melbourne Victory.

Central Coast’s Lewis Miller, already on a yellow, made a crunching tackle on Victory’s Ben Folami and it was a sure warrant of another yellow. Referee Stephen Lucas opted against this, despite already having pulled the card out.

Certainly a decision that can change a game, Lucas’ no-call shocked Victory and particularly their head coach Tony Popovic.

“It’s hard for me to understand. That’s a clear yellow card,” said Popovic.

“He (Lucas) goes to make a decision and he changes his mind and they’re things that change games. It’s ten men for them (Mariners) in the first half and we are on top.”

Victory are on familiar terms with the booking system, having received 20 yellow cards and two reds so far this season.

Popovic is convinced his men are being hard done by when it comes to cards given and received.

“We’ve seen some red cards we have received this year which were decisions that are more 50/50 than that,” said Victory’s coach.

“it’s happening far too often with decisions. When I think of the yellow and red cards  we have received this season there’s no doubt it’s out of the ref’s pocket immediately.

“I don’t know how much clearer a yellow card can be.”

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On the other hand, Mariners head coach Nick Montgomery had his take on the incident, believing the second yellow to Miller shouldn’t have been in play in the first place.

“The first yellow he gets is in front of me and he dives and wins the ball and the guy follows through and falls over him so that’s not a yellow card,” said Montgomery.

“The second one I think he just gets a bit confused, no chance was that two yellow cards.”

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Montgomery also defended his side, bringing forth his opinion his men were equally wronged in their clash.

“I think a few Victory players were very fortunate in the second half. D’Agostino dragging Dan Hall down on numerous occasions and never got a yellow card,” said the Mariners head coach.

“Talk about consistency, we don’t seem to get it.”

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Melbourne Victory still sit inside the top four, though only four points separates them from seventh-placed Sydney FC.

It shows how close the league is. With such decisions, Victory’s mentality may be endangered as the regular season nears its conclusion.

Feature Image Credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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Mitchell Roese
Mitchell Roese
Sports enthuse currently studying a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism) at the University of Technology Sydney. Covering the Central Coast Mariners 2021/22 A-League Season

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