The Western Sydney Wanderers fell to their 5th loss on the trot after an awful VAR decision handed Adelaide United an undeserved 2-1 win.
With a host of players out of action due to injury or suspension, Markus Babbel elected to play a 5 at the back formation, bringing Mathieu Cordier, Rashid Mahazi & Jausua Sotirio into the starting lineup.
8 minutes into the game Adelaide opened the scoring. A long ball over the top found Craig Goodwin, after he brought the ball back onto his right foot, he laid it into the path of Vince Lia, and he blasted a rocket through Nick Suman's hands.
Not long after the half-time interval, Roly Bonevacia scored a superb equaliser. The Wanderers won a foul on the edge of the penalty area, and Bonevacia was going to do nothing but shoot on goal. He fired a perfect free kick up and over the wall with just enough power & direction that it dipped under the cross bar for 1-1.
With an hour gone it looked like both sides could have taken all three points, but it ended up being Adelaide United with an assist from a blind linesman and a VAR booth that was as useless as a Maccas VAR frappe machine on a hot day. Michael Marrone attacked down the right flank, he drew Cordier before feeding the ball to Nikola Mileusnic, he launched the ball across the penalty area, finding Goodwin who managed to fly the ball through the eye of a needle, going between Tate Russel's legs, avoiding Tarek Elrich and leaving Suman no chance at all.
The VAR had vanished off the face of the planet. As Wanderers fans well know whenever their team has scored a goal the VAR will spend long minutes scrutinising every frame for potential infringements to take the goal away from the Red & Black, but tonight it was the opposite. There was no apparent checking done at all. The linesman, and the VAR, had missed a simple and clear offside by Mileusnic when he received the ball from Marrone. Late in the game the referee & VAR also ignored a clear penalty to the Wanderers.
For a system that spent 5 minutes coming up with a reason to chalk off Roly Bonevacia's goal in the Round 2 Sydney Derby, it was a baffling omission, an inexplicable failure to correct a blatantly obvious error. This week the FFA came out in the press, unable to figure out just why people were tuning out of the A-League this summer. It is clear and obvious that part of the reason is the incredibly poor standard of the officials. The are continually making major errors, the referees and VAR since it's introduction have favoured the two A-League teams that play in Sky Blue, and and they hold grudges against coaches & players who speak out against the low standard.
It's time for the new FFA Chairman to take action, and fire Ben Wilson the incompetent head of A-League Referees, and ensure that Kris Griffths Jones is never put on another Wanderers game again. When the VAR didn't exist the referees had the fallback that they are only human and that mistakes are inevitable. Now with the VAR, there are too many mistakes being made and they are being backed up by too many excuses from the FFA. It's not even the first time Adelaide have benefited from the VAR not bothering to overturn a clear offside.
Watching a team fail of their own volition is hard enough to take but that's what football fans sign up for. The systemic failures that exist in a protocol intended to correct such mistakes is a truly galling experience, and one that saps one of the will to bother watching our home league. It can't go on like this.
The Wanderers play Melbourne City next Tuesday in Melbourne at 7:50PM EDT.