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A-League: Kevin Muscat blasts Arnold, FFA disciplinary process ahead of ‘massive game’

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Nanjing Night Net

Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat has blamed Sydney coach Graham Arnold for getting his star winger Kosta Barbarouses banned for two matches and has slammed the Match Review Panel after the disciplinary body outed the Kiwi wide-man following the ill-tempered A-League clash between Sydney and Victory last weekend.

Barbarouses went in heavily on Sydney midfielder Milos Ninkovic during the first half of a scrappy, physical encounter, but match referee Kris Griffiths Jones took no action at the time.

Afterwards Muscat said the referee had simply warned Barbarouses to be more careful with future tackles.

But Arnold took a different view, saying Barbarouses should have been shown a straight red card.

The MRP overruled the referee and looked at the case early in the week, cited Barbarouses, then handed down the suspension.

Muscat and his Victory players were in Osaka, Japan, for an Asian Champions League game at the time, but the coach was livid in Melbourne on Saturday morning ahead of what he described as a “massive” game for Victory away to Central Coast on Sunday afternoon.

“Roll out the Benny Hill music,” Muscat said, not trying to hide his anger.

“Staggering [decision)] … in the end we decided not to appeal simply because I don’t think there’s any point, which is sad.

“I think that Kosta has come under a little bit of a question mark here. His integrity has been questioned. The referee spoke to him, he’s seen the tackle and [told him] to be careful of future tackles.

“Now we have the situation where I assume that the MRP can act because Kris [Griffiths-Jones, the referee] says he doesn’t see the incident.

“We have sent footage that [Griffiths-Jones] was seven yards away. The fourth official was on a different angle, an opposite angle 25 yards away.

“If no one has seen the incident, we have got to question where they are looking. “

This was one of a series of contentious decisions that had gone against Victory this season, Muscat said.

“We’re expected to accept the rub of the green when the ball goes over the line and no one sees [Gui Finkler’s ghost goal against Melbourne City], we’re expected to get the rub of the green when, in hindsight, we get a note saying that Fahid was sent off incorrectly [when Ben Khalfallah was controversially dismissed against Perth Glory], we’re expected to accept the rub of the green when [City goalkeeper Thomas] Sorensen said he should’ve been sent off for a handball, and on this occasion when it’s gone against us.

“The one thing that’s disappointing in all of this is that Kosta’s spoken the truth and his character’s been brought into question, which is disappointing.”

Muscat had plenty of criticism for his former Socceroo teammate, too, saying his words created the climate for the MRP to take action.

“No doubt in my mind it did affect it. What I’d say to them is that [Arnold] wasn’t questioning any Match Review Panel when a goalkeeper lost eight teeth [when Newcastle’s Mark Birighitti was badly injured in a challenge by Sydney striker Shane Smeltz] and nothing was done by the MRP in that instance, so we assume the referee’s seen it and thought it was okay.

“I didn’t see Arnie questioning [Sydney goalkeeper Vedran] Janjetovic coming out of his box and pushing [Brisbane captain] Matt McKay behind play. All of a sudden, Arnie’s got an opinion and it seemed to work this time.”

Barbarouses will miss the Mariners game and next week’s clash with Brisbane Roar. Oliver Bozanic and Nick Ansell will also be absent after their exertions in Japan midweek.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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