Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold confirmed the club will appeal the red card to defender Nikola Petkovic as the Sky Blues bundled out of the Westfield FFA Cup by Adelaide United on Tuesday night.
With scores locked at 1-1 and just three minutes left, Petkovic was controversially sent off by referee Ben Williams for his lunging tackle on the Reds’ Fabio Ferreira.
It proved a turning point in the match as Adelaide, second best for most of the second half, regrouped and went on to win the match 3-1 in extra-time.
An incensed Arnold was heard on the Fox Sports coverage to call Williams “an embarrassment” for the decision he feels cost his team a victory and a place in the last four of the competition.
“It’s extremely disappointing. I feel sorry for the fans that came out tonight, I feel sorry for the viewers that had to watch it on TV but most of all I feel sorry for the players.
“I wasn’t thrilled with our first half but second half up, until the red card, there was only going to be one winner.
“What can you do? It wouldn’t have gone to extra-time (if Petkovic wasn’t sent off). We would have beaten them in 90 minutes.
“I’m extremely proud of the effort of my players and the supporters who kept singing throughout even though I can imagine how frustrated they were.”
The Sky Blues are set to appeal Petkovic’s red card on Wednesday, in the hope of having him available for Friday night’s clash with Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium.
“The match review panel got together really quick to suspend Sasa Ognenovski and (Vitor) Saba for one game,” Arnold pointed out.
“We’ve got a game on Friday so you would hope they would overturn it quickly if they are going to.”
Sydney were outplayed for much of the first half and trailed through Sergio Cirio’s goal at the break but came back into it through substitute Alex Brosque’s equalizer six minutes into the second half.
The home side had their chances to win it in normal time before Petkovic was marched, with Bruce Djite scoring twice in extra-time to settle the contest.
“They (Adelaide) were at full strength, we had a lot of players out and we didn’t have too many problems,” Arnold said.
“We got to see what Adelaide’s like. It’s disappointing not to go further in the FFA Cup but for certain circumstances it can’t be helped. We’ll be confident when we play them next time.”