Cruel offside calls sees Wellington Phoenix lose seven-goal thriller

Wellington Phoenix have come out on the wrong side of a seven-goal epic after substitute Tomer Hemed was denied a late equaliser by the width of his shoulder in a 4-3 defeat to Western Sydney Wanderers.
The Israeli international looked to have snatched a point at the death on a drama-filled Monday night at Bankwest Stadium in Parramatta, only to have his second goal disallowed by a marginal offside call following Video Assistant Referee intervention.

Its a game of inches, Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay lamented. Its disappointing. It probably needs to be looked at because footballers dont score with their hands and I think his hand is just offside.

Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Wanderers players Kwame Yeboah, Keanu Baccus and Bruce Kamau celebrate on fulltime.

But Im very pleased with our teams performance, I thought we were the better side overall. You score three goals away from home and you should win games.

* Wellington Phoenix rising star Ben Waine ready to make his mark in the A-League
* Louis Fenton's next goal: Become A-League's best right-back
* Depleted Wellington Phoenix dig deep to draw with Western Sydney Wanderers

The Phoenix led three times during the pulsating 90-minute encounter, which will long live in the memory, but were left stunned when Kwame Yeboah struck with six minutes remaining to clinch a remarkable come-from-behind win for the Wanderers.

Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Phoenix striker Homer Hemed converts a penalty shortly after coming onto the field.

Despite Louis Fentons injury forcing a last-minute reshuffle, with Cameron Devlin thrust into the starting XI and Alex Rufer dropping back to do a job in the less familiar role of right-back, the Phoenix made a perfect start when Ulises Davila fired the visitors ahead after just seven minutes.

But it required a world-class strike from Devlin to drag them back in front for a second time after Daniel Wilmering ghosted in at the far post and levelled the score at 1-1 following a lack of communication between the defenders.

Devlin ended his 2000 minute A-League goal drought in spectacular style, brharapg the ball down with his chest and launching a wonder goal from long range. Not bad for a guy who was supposed to be on the bench.

He scored a cracker of a goal. Its funny how football works. Louis got injured in the warm-up and hes come in and did a great job.

The poor set-piece defending that has plagued the Phoenix throughout the season cost them again in the second half when Jordon Mutch rose above Rufer and James McGarry to meet a corner-kick and head the ball past goalkeeper Oli Sail to make it 2-2.

Mark Kolbe/Getty Images
Ufuk Talay appeals to the assistant referee after Tim Payne was nudged in the back prior to Mitchell Dukes goal.

I think what hurt us the most was conceding that set-piece in the second half.

Desperate for a goal, Hemed stepped up to convert a penalty, won by Reno Piscopo, midway through the second half to restore the Phoenixs one-goal advantage.

But it was immediately cancelled out when Mitchell Duke nudged Tim Payne out the way, controlled the ball on his chest and hit a sweet volley to once again level the score.

I thought there was a slight nudge that put Tim off but I think were a little bit naive at times. If Timmy feels that he needs to go down because if you go down then generally the referees give a free-kick.

Hemed, who was cheered on by a large group of Jewish supporters he personally invited to the game, thought he had salvaged a draw in the fifth minute of stoppage time, but replays showed his shoulder had strayed offside when competing for the long ball delivered in by Tim Payne.

The game is built on scoring goals, Talay said. We cant be pulling things up for a finger or a fingernail. Its very disappointing for the spectator watching the game. The rule needs to be looked at because he doesnt score with his hand, he scores with his feet or his head.


Our Partner