VAR in A-League spotlight again as Sydney beats Wanderers

SYDNEY (AP) — The video assistant referee came in for criticism in Australia’s A-League when Western Sydney Wanderers coach Markus Babbel was red carded for an angry reaction during his team’s 2-0 derby loss to Sydney FC.

Babbel flung his jacket and kicked an advertising sign when a potential equalizer by the Wanderers’ Roly Bonevacia was disallowed midway through the second half.

The decision helped Sydney to continue its domination of the derby — it has lost only once in 14 matches since the Wanderers joined the league.

Bonevacia’s effort was disallowed when referee Chris Beath determined Wanderers’ Jaushua Sotirio had impaired Sydney fullback Michael Zullo in the lead-up. Beath later said Sotirio was ruled to have obstructed Zullo from an offside position.

“It was only picked up by the VAR,” Beath said. “From a technical point of view the offside is the correct decision.”

Babbel apologized for his reaction.

“I have to apologize,” he said. “My body language wasn’t good after this. But I hadn’t said a word against the referee.”

Adam Le Fondre and Alex Brosque scored Sydney’s goals in the first soccer match played at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 30 years.

Sydney sits atop the A-League standings, ahead of Perth which beat defending champion the Melbourne Victory 3-2. Christopher Ikonomidis struck the winning goal in the third minute of stoppage time.

Melbourne City is third after a 1-1 draw with Central Coast and Wellington Phoenix fourth after drawing 0-0 with Brisbane.