Muscat takes aim at ref after City triumph
WINNING Melbourne City coach Warren Joyce praised his team for their resilience after a 2-1 win against Melbourne Victory in their A-League opener on Saturday night.
Super sub Riley McGree scored a late winner with a controversial call from referee Kurt Ams gifting City an equaliser after Keisuke Honda had headed Victory into the lead.
Victory coach Kevin Muscat lavished praise on Honda for his performance and attitude having got plenty of attention from City's defenders.
But Joyce, who lost the last two Melbourne derbies after winning the corresponding game last season, was delighted with the gutsy effort and showed no sympathy for their fortuitous call.
"We showed tremendous amount of resilience. The week got disrupted with late injuries and illnesses to players,'' Joyce said.
"(Iacopo) La Rocca hasn't played since last February. Not even a reserves game, straight in.
"At the time I thought it was a trip, but I was 60 yards away. Ernie Merrick was very philosophical (after the grand final last season), he mentioned sometimes they even themselves up.
"I think we had more than our fair share of bad luck on VAR's last season."
Muscat was composed post-game when talking about the controversial free-kick that was awarded a penalty after video intervention, but said it was referee Kurt Ams' gaffe, not VAR's.
"The penalty? I'll go as far as saying it's not a foul. Of course it had an influence on the game,'' Muscat said.
"I think it surprised everybody, their players included, when a foul was given. And then couldn't believe their luck when they actually got a penalty.
"I don't know how the VAR could've done anything different in that situation.
"I thought that first 40 minutes before that incident, I thought we were outstanding. Total dominance, total control - and playing some really attacking and exciting stuff."
Honda's performance thrilled Muscat.
"Keisuke was outstanding. I thought he was clearly very influential in the game,'' he said.
"His desire to compete with his technical ability is outstanding and he's exciting.
"He never takes the easy way out. He comes in for some treatment tonight and stays on his feet, not trying to milk fouls, not trying to con the referee - because there was quite a bit of that, which got rewarded."