Socceroo greats were left scratching their heads when Wellington Phoenix midfielder Alex Rufer was sent off in his side’s clash with Macarthur FC.
Rufer was dismissed in the second half for violent misconduct after a David Ball goal gave Wellington the lead.
And the send off was for a fairly innocuous challenge on Macarthur’s Denis Genreau.
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Rufer was attempting to shut down a counter attack from the home side when he took the ball out from underneath Genreau.
As he did so his leg became entangled in between the Macarthur player’s legs.
Genreau stayed down in pain, clutching his left knee and received medical attention.
As the physio came over, referee Stephen Lucas was told to check VAR to see if there was anything in the challenge.
“Watch the kick out on here only boot on boot, surely it’s not a red card,” said Brenton Speed in Fox Football’s call of the game.
Former Socceroo Robbie Slater added: “It doesn’t look like a red card to me, that’s a yellow.”
But to the shock of the commentary box, Rufer was given his marching orders after Lucas had consulted with VAR.
“That’s extraordinary, that’s a very poor decision in my opinion,” said ex-Manchester United goalkeeper Mark Bosnich, who described the decision post-game as an “injustice”.
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“I think this season the referee and the VAR have been exceptional, except for that one there. I thought for the first time, I thought we’d look at Genreau going in with his right foot… but lash out?
“Sorry, that was just the natural way he fell with his leg there. He’s a very unlucky boy. I’m astounded, I’m completely shocked.”
“I don’t see a lash out at all,” Slater added. “Since the VAR has come in, and that’s the worst decision I’ve seen.”
The send off proved vital with Macarthur using the man-advantage to grab a goal back through Markel Susaeta and draw 1-1.