SYDNEY (Reuters) - Wellington Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay has bemoaned the absence of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system for the remainder of the A-League season after string of contentious decisions went unchecked in his team’s loss to Sydney FC.
A-League was the first professional football league in the world to adopt VAR in 2017 but suspended its use for the resumption of the regular season after a break of four months caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak.
Phoenix, who were third when the season was suspended in March, played league leaders Sydney in the first match back last Friday but lost 3-1 after having two appeals for penalties declined and a goal disallowed for offside.
“A lot of people were not in favour of the VAR and now all of a sudden we are in favour of the VAR to be there because it’s not there,” Talay told reporters on Monday.
“I was quite pleased with the VAR, the way it worked, and I believe it should be there.”
Sydney FC’s victory gave them an 11-point cushion over Melbourne City at the top of the table but they will have little time to savour their victory as the league looks to cram 27 matches into four weeks to complete the regular season.
The reigning champions take on the ninth-placed Newcastle Jets on Tuesday back at Kogarah Oval and coach Steve Corica was thankful to report no injury concerns after Friday’s match.
Phoenix on Wednesday face fifth-placed Perth Glory, who beat Central Coast Mariners 1-0 in their first match after the resumption on Saturday. Adelaide United edged fourth-placed Brisbane Roar 1-0 in the final match of the weekend.
The three Melbourne teams - City, Victory and Western United - are still in quarantine in New South Wales after being granted special permission to cross the state border from Victoria, which has gone into lockdown after a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Reporting by Nick Mulvenney, editing by Peter Rutherford