Simon says Kaltak’s send off was wrong: ‘clearly not a red card’

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Mariners fans booed the referees as they walked off the field after a tense draw between Central Coast Mariners and Wellington Phoenix that was full of controversial calls.

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The Central Coast took an early lead in the clash, with James McGarry receiving a cross from Storm Roux and levelling a volley past his former team mate and Phoenix goalkeeper Oliver Sail. 

The game changed drastically for the Mariners in the second half, with the Yellow and Navy copping three red cards. 

First one was shown in the 58th minute when Brian Kaltak made a lunge for the ball, but his foot rolled over it and took out David Ball’s right leg instead. 

The match went from bad to worse for the Central Coast when the Phoenix evened the scoreboard during injury time. 

The second red card came just three minutes later for violent conduct when Moresche jabbed his finger in Scott Wootten’s face following a tangle between the two during play. 

In the aftermath of the call, Nick Montgomery copped the third red card. 

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While the second red card remains largely uncontested, there has been much debate about whether Kaltak deserved to be sent off. 

Former Mariners legend and coaching staff member Matt Simon thought the referee made the wrong call. 

“It’s just a bit of bad luck where Brian [Kaltak] goes in and his leg bounces up off the ball. There’s minimal contact there,” remarked Simon. 

“VAR is there for a reason. In my opinion, they should have used it better there.” 

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While many fans agreed with Matt Simon and thought that the red card was a harsh call, Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay thought the decision was “just”. 

“I think the first challenge on [David Ball] was pretty high,” said Talay. 

“At the end of the day, I think the referee made the right decisions.” 

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The red cards and reduced squad seemed to slow the momentum that the Central Coast had built in the first half, allowing the Phoenix to swoop in at the last minute with a goal and secure the draw. 

The point has been enough to keep the Mariners in second place on the table for now, and has tied up Wellington with Western Sydney Wanderers who currently reside in fourth place. 

With the ladder being as tight as it is, both teams will be looking for victory in next week’s matches to secure their place in the top four. 

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Wellington Phoenix will return to New Zealand to play Newcastle Jets while Central Coast Mariners will travel out west to face off with Western Sydney Wanderers. 

Mariners fans will have to hold their breath and see if the Mariners can defeat the Wanderers without Kaltak and Moresche on the field and  without their coach on the sidelines.

Featured Image Credit: Robbie Szafranek

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Jasmine Singh
Jasmine Singh
One of the two journalists covering the Western Sydney Wanderers and the Central Coast Mariners for the 2022/23 season. Studying a Bachelor of Media (Communications and Journalism) / Bachelor of International Studies at the University of New South Wales. A true crime addict and dog lover.

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