Babbel sorry but VAR outrage still burns deep

WESTERN Sydney coach Markus Babbel has apologised for his mid-match outburst but stuck by his view Roly Bonevacia’s second-half goal should not have been disallowed by the video assistant referee.

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Babbel was red-carded for giving the fourth official an almighty serve after a hugely controversial VAR intervention stopped the Wanderers closing the margin on Saturday night’s 2-0 derby loss to Sydney FC.

The initial assumption was that VAR Craig Zetter had urged on-field referee Chris Beath to have another look at Jaushua Sotirio’s contact on Michael Zullo during the build-up to the second-half incident, and that the goal was then chalked off due to a foul.

Markus Babbel got his marching orders for protesting a controversial VAR decision.Source:AAP

It was only after the match that Beath explained to Fox Sports he’d made the call after footage showed Sotirio had been offside, a situation neither coach nor any of the players were informed of until after the game.

Babbel was considerably calmer in his post-match press conference but still strongly disagreed with the decision despite being alerted by press to the offside nature of the decision.

“I have to apologise, my body language wasn’t good after this but I hadn’t said a word against the referee,” Babbel said.

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“I wasn’t happy with the decision, that’s what I was saying, but nothing badly about the referee. This is not good, I have to work on this, this is my fault.

“But for me it’s clear this is not a foul. I could see it on the screen, no one has to explain me this. Where can he (Sotirio) go? He’s not aware, he has to stay. The defender can run around him. I could see on the screen that it’s not offside. For me it’s 100 per cent a goal.

“Also if we are doing this (goal disallowed) then you have to give a penalty (to the Wanderers). For me it’s 100 per cent clear, it’s a penalty.

Referee Chris Beath was the centre of attention in the Sydney derby.Source:Getty Images

“For a referee it’s difficult – you get a sign, you have a look, so it’s difficult to make a decision. If they are not 100 per cent clear don’t say a word. Very hard for us but we have to accept this.”

Babbel said he supported VAR as a concept as it’s designed to make a referee’s difficult job easier, but lamented inconsistencies in its delivery.

“You have to make the right decisions in the box,” he said.

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“At the moment we play basketball on the pitch. If someone gets touched you only have to scream and it’s a free-kick, it makes me mad.

“So it’s very unlucky for us, both games now had hard decisions against us. We have to accept this but it’s hard because the team was very hardworking and did a great job and created chances.

“The problem is at the moment we can’t score, and if we score it’s not allowed.”

Siem de Jong will miss the FFA Cup final with injury.Source:News Corp Australia

Sky Blues counterpart Steve Corica confirmed there had been no communication from officials to the bench and had only just got word of the reasoning.

“I originally thought it was a foul on Zullo and then I’ve just got word it’s offside. I think he got it right then if it’s offside. He can see if it’s offside or not, he’s come back from an offside position. It went our way this time, it could go against us another time.

“The performance was very good. It was the derby, we won 2-0, clean sheet and defended really well in the second half when they put us under a lot of pressure but the first half we dominated and played really well.”

Corica also confirmed Dutch marquee Siem de Jong had suffered a low-grade hamstring strain that would rule him out of Tuesday night’s FFA Cup final in Adelaide.

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“That was point of putting him on the bench in the first place to rest him and not give him 90 minutes because I wanted him to be fresh on Tuesday night for the Cup,” Corica said.

“Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way.”

He said Danny De Silva would be available and involved against the Reds on return from injury.

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Originally published as Babbel sorry but VAR outrage still burns deep

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