Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat says Friday night's Big Blue could have been a very different game had Sydney FC star Adrian Mierzejewski copped a second yellow for a stray elbow.
Sydney ran over the top of a 10-man Victory in the last half hour with three goals piled on after the home side took the lead through a Besart Berisha penalty.
But in the 50th minute, with the game was still goalless, Rhys Williams copped an elbow from man of the match Mierzejewski is an aerial challenge.
Mierzejewski escaped any further penalty and Muscat said he quizzed referee Jarred Gillet post-match.
"At this point in time you can imagine it’s just gut-wrenching because I thought for large periods of that game we gave as good as we got but some big moment," Muscat said.
"I spoke with Jarred after the game. His explanation was that he wasn’t sure there was any contact with Rhys. He said I’ll have a look at it, it’s just a shame that he didn’t have my angle."
The incident carried over to Twitter with the players and fans chipping in.
Come on...176cm vs almost 2 metres. Left arm exactly in the same position as right one. Its not my fault that he didnt jump pic.twitter.com/PERzTTsGBD— Adrian Mierzejewski (@adrianmierzej86) January 26, 2018
Broke my check bone with people leading with elbows....— Rhys Williams (@rhysey14) January 26, 2018
I think maybe a yellow but I don’t know why he had to tweet about it? He’s a great player but doesn’t need to comment on this stuff.— Rhys Williams (@rhysey14) January 26, 2018
In the 77th minute Victory were reduced to 10 when Jason Geria brought down Bobo in the box. By then, Muscat said, Sydney could have potentially been a man down themselves.
"You’ve made contact with your elbow," he said. "If it’s not a direct red, surely it’s a yellow card and he’s already on a yellow card. And so another big moment.
"When you’re at the top of the table the big decisions tend to go for you."
He added: "Could it have been a different story if Adrian gets a second yellow? Main moments. And it probably happens all round the world that when you’re at the top those decisions go for you."
Muscat rued a lapse of concentration that led to Sydney equalising two minutes after Victory took the lead, but couldn't get his mind of the Mierzejewski incident.
"Still got visions of Rhys Williams going down without anyone touching him."