Last season’s grand finalists Melbourne City have fired off a warning to the rest of the A-League that they may just have their groove back with a second win in a row on the road, after downing Western Sydney 2-0 at Bankwest Stadium.
A controversial VAR penalty marred the second half however which frustrated Wanderers boss Carl Robinson to the point that he claimed it’s starting to alter his enjoyment of the game.
It was converted by last season’s golden boot winner Jamie Maclaren to give him a double for the evening after James Troisi was adjudged to have had his arm in an unnatural position when the ball hit it inside the area.
Camera angles were unclear though as to whether it hit his body first before ricocheting upwards.
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“It’s been stated (by the referee’s boss) that it has to be clear and obvious. It was not one hundred percent clear and obvious. So, I’ll call him tomorrow and he’ll say the same thing and tell me what I want to hear,” said Robinson.
“I’ve been in a game a long time. It’s actually making me not enjoy football and that’s a shame, so that’s my thought on the VAR decision.”
City’s win helped provide a boost for coach Patrick Kisnorbo who has not only had some early season pressure relieved but was forced to watch the win from his hotel room having suffered from a bout of food poisoning, meaning assistant Des Buckingham took the reins for the evening.
In contrast, the penalty frustration compounded a horrid week at home for Robinson, losing back-to-back matches that has placed their top six spot at risk.
It was Maclaren who was their nemesis on this occasion.
His first goal came on the half hour mark after City pounced on a sloppy Keanu Baccus pass to set up their key marksman who finished with typical aplomb amid little room in the area.
The Socceroos’ second from the penalty spot made it four goals in two games and has taken him up to equal top on the goalscoring charts with seven goals for the campaign.
Western Sydney threw plenty at the City defence late on but they held firm, most notably through a superb Tom Glover save from a close-range Bruce Kamau header, to maintain a clean sheet.