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Merrick backs Amor despite extended ban

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 5 days ago Cathy Walshe

Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick has questioned the extension of Adelaide United coach Guillermo Amor's touchline ban to a second A-League match.

Amor missed last weekend's goalless draw with top-of-the-table Sydney FC, banished to the stands after touching fourth official Adam Fielding following a controversial decision during the Reds' 3-1 loss to Perth the week before.

After an independent disciplinary and ethics committee hearing on Wednesday, Amor's ban was extended to Sunday's upcoming match against the Phoenix in Adelaide.

"For Gui to get two weeks for brushing someone's arm I think is absolutely ridiculous," Merrick said.

"He should be on the bench against us.

"You couldn't meet a nicer gentleman, or a real pacifist. That decision just amazes me."

Merrick didn't believe Amor's absence would have too much impact on Adelaide, as the defending champions battle for their first win of the season after three draws and five losses to date.

"I think there's enough experienced players in the Adelaide team to know what their job is, but I think it always helps to have the coach on the sidelines."

Adelaide sit 10th on the A-League ladder, three points behind the ninth-placed Phoenix, who have had their own battles with officialdom in recent weeks.

They were landed with six yellow cards in Sunday's 2-1 away loss to Melbourne City, who picked up three in the last 10 minutes including two for time-wasting.

Phoenix playmaker Gui Finkler bore the brunt of some ferocious City defence, winning nine free kicks from Melbourne fouls but without referee Kurt Ams reaching for the yellow card.

Merrick was resigned in his assessment of the refereeing, describing it as "very poor", but said he wouldn't be taking any further action.

"I've given up talking to the referees, or the director of referees' coaching - I'll leave that to our board and general manager to discuss with them.

"All we can do is once again write a letter to the FFA and see if we can do something about it."

Wellington will still be missing midfielder Michael McGlinchey and defender Tom Doyle to injury this week as they begin a run of four crucial matches against Adelaide, Central Coast, Western Sydney and Newcastle.

"In the next four games, we want to get results in three of them, and we've got a team capable of doing that," Merrick said.

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