An enthralling 2-2 draw between Western Sydney Wanderers and Newcastle Jets was marred by a controversial intervention of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) at Spotless Stadium on Friday.
The VAR was first used in the 4th minute disallowing a goal scored by Chris Ikonomidis, after the former Lazio slotted home what looked like the opener but which the VAR proved narrowly strayed offside.
However the Wanderers took the lead two minutes later, after Marcelo Carrusca was brought down inside the box by former Western Sydney captain Nikolai Topor-Stanley. Spanish striker Oriol Riera made no mistake from the spot, stroking the ball into the corner of the net and sending Jack Duncan the other way.
Dimitri Petratos levelled up for the Jets in the 48th minute with a lovely strike into the top-right corner.
In the 67th minute the referee Peter Green deemed Topor-Stanley handled a ricochet in the area. After consulting the VAR the decision was upheld and Riera converted the spot kick to score his second from 12 yards.
The Jets restored parity a mere 80 seconds later as Nabbout dribbled in from the right and curled a marvellous effort with the outside of his right foot inside the far post.
Just 3 minutes later and it looked like Jason Hoffman had scored the winner but the goal was ruled out for a foul on Vedran Janjetovic, who pushed the ball inside his own net under pressure from the right-back.
The VAR brought play to a standstill on three occasions, causing major delays with more than 7 minutes of injury time.
After the match both team’s coach slammed the use of the VAR with Jets coach Ernie Merrick describing the performance from the referee and the VAR as “disgraceful.”
Wanderers coach Josep Gombau criticised the overuse of the VAR which not only disrupts the flow of play but ruins the viewing experience for fans.