Reds to make formal complaint to FFA over penalty incident says Kovacevic

Adelaide United General Manager of Football, Ante Kovacevic, says the Club will be making a formal complaint to Football Federation Australia about the dubious penalty decision which handed Newcastle Jets a 2-1 win on Saturday.

With the score locked at 1-1, the Jets were given a contentious penalty on 87 minutes for an apparent handball on United youngster Ryan Strain.

Referee Stephen Lucas pointed straight to the spot as he deemed the ball struck Strain’s arm after Dimitri Petratos’ shot ricocheted off Ersan Gülüm.

However, replays showed the ball hit the 20-year-old’s chest, in addition to his arm being tucked in against his body and had little time to react regardless.

And despite the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) reviewing the incident, the penalty decision was surprisingly not overturned, allowing Petratos to convert the match-winner.

Kovacevic said the Club will be contacting FFA for an explanation surrounding the controversial penalty and the application of the VAR.

“We’ll make a formal complaint, we want to get formal explanation from them,” he said.

“Because it’s ruining the game, those sort of bad decisions.

“Not only ours but this weekend there’s probably three games that have been affected by VAR decisions or non-decisions whichever way you want to look at it.”

But the 43-year-old lamented the most frustrating aspect was the tireless work put in during the week by the players and coaching staff is now in vain.

“I think that’s the biggest frustration the boys put their blood, sweat and tears on the line,” he continued.

“All week the coaching staff have been spending hours upon hours to get a result against Newcastle who are sitting second.

“And it’s all undone ninety minutes of work is undone in the last minute.

“I’ve only seen a photo of it where it’s proven not to hit his arm I haven’t seen any footage where it actually has hit his arm.

“That’s the way I saw it, that’s the way I saw it on the day, that’s the way I see it now and once again that’s why we need an explanation.”

Kovacevic believes the concept behind VAR is fine, but instead was critical of how it is used due to the prevalent inconsistencies when interpreting incidents across the league.

“I actually think the technology is okay,” he said.

“I think it’s the use of the technology that’s more of the issue, there’s tackles that don’t get missed.

“I think that was the Sydney game, the Central Coast game yesterday and other tackles are being penalised by the VAR referees.

“So I think that’s more the issue how it’s being used rather than the actual technology.

“The principle of the technology is fine, it’s there to clarify decisions that are suspect, that are match changing decisions but it’s not happening.”

Kovacevic also provided an update on the Reds’ plans to find a replacement for the recently departed Karim Matmour ahead of the January Transfer Window.

“What we want to do is strengthen the squad or strengthen the starting eleven,” he said.

“We can always strengthen the squad but we want to really, if the right person comes up, will be to strengthen the starting eleven and that’s what we are looking for.

“So there’s been a lot of names that have come through but nobody is really there that we are one hundred per cent confident on at the moment.

“But we still have some time until January.”

He also discussed the injury which has plagued Johan Absalonsen for much of the season, insisting the Dane will not be rushed back.

“It’s a quad strain, it’s his left quad that’s his weapon,” he said.

“He’s thirty-two years of age so with the quad out of the muscular injuries that’s probably the hardest injury to overcome.

“As opposed to a hamstring which is quite regular or a calf or knee or ankle strain.

“With Johan the last thing we want is for him to miss another six to eight weeks.

“So we want to make sure he’s one hundred per cent or as close to one hundred per cent before we risk him.”

Adelaide United host Central Coast Mariners in Round 12 of the Hyundai A-League 2017/18 season on Tuesday, 26 December at Coopers Stadium. Kick-off is at 7.20pm ACDT.