Adelaide striker Bruce Djite has backed the referee's decision to red card Sydney FC's Nikola Petkovic in last night’s dramatic 3-1 win for United in the Westfield FFA Cup quarter finals at Allianz Stadium.
With scores locked at 1-1 and just three minutes left, Petkovic was sent off for his lunging tackle on the Reds’ Fabio Ferreira.
It proved a turning point in the match as Adelaide went on to win the match 3-1 in extra-time.
Djite, a former teammate of Petkovic from their days with Turkish club Genclerbirligi in 2008, said he didn’t have a problem with the Sky Blues defender.
But the 27-year-old former Socceroo striker said that type of challenge needs to be stamped out across the Hyundai A-League.
“He’s copped studs above his knee. If that’s not a red card ... and if that’s the sort of league we want to promote then okay," Djite told www.a-league.com.au.
Stud marks on the inner thigh of Ferreira were clear to see at the team’s recovery session this morning at Coogee Beach in Sydney.
“Again though it depends on what kind of league you want. If you want to attract top players they don’t want to come to a league that’s all about hard tackles.
“I think it was a red card. Let’s not wait till someone gets studs in his knee and does his cruciate ligament before you start to act. Preventive measures are the best.
“It depends on what sort of league you want here. For me it was a high challenge and though they both went for the ball.
An incensed Sydney FC coach Graham 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 Cup.
"I know Nikola well. I played with him Turkey and he’s not that type of player to try injure a player.
“But it was a bit of bad luck [for Sydney] but for me it was a red."
“Maybe I’m biased because I’m an attacker and maybe defenders will see it differently but for me it was a red card, albeit a little bit of a harsh one," added Djite, whose brace helped his side to a third win against Hyundai A-League opposition in the Cup.
“That’s just the way the cookie crumbles. But 11 or 10 players we would’ve won the game anyway.”