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Merrick cheers for A-League video replays

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 6 days ago Ben McKay

Bruno Fornaroli of City and Andrew Durante of the Phoenix contest the ball during a contentious A-League fixture in Melbourne. © AAP Image/Joe Castro Bruno Fornaroli of City and Andrew Durante of the Phoenix contest the ball during a contentious A-League fixture in Melbourne. After a disappointing and frustrating day in Melbourne, Wellington Phoenix coach Ernie Merrick is hoping the introduction of video replays will help his side climb the A-League table.

The Phoenix were beaten 2-1 by Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Sunday in match with two penalties, nine yellow cards and plenty of line-ball calls.

Referee Kurt Ames had a busy day but Merrick disagreed with his decision to give City captain Bruno Fornaroli a penalty for the decisive goal.

Rather than spray the official, who returned to A-League refereeing this season after a four-year absence, Merrick preferred to talk up a way of helping him out - video refereeing.

"We need it and we need it now," he said on Sunday night.

"You've got to have video refereeing.

"It's been proven to be more accurate in every other professional game.

"The sooner we get accuracy on penalty kicks and offside calls, the better.

"I'm sure it will be difficult to begin with but then it will be more streamlined and the game will be a much more honest game."

The A-League has been chosen by FIFA as a test market for video refereeing in the new year, along with five other major footballing nations.

FFA chief David Gallop has championed the idea, with Victory boss Kevin Muscat and Sydney FC chief executive Tony Pignata among the fans.

Merrick suggested a number of decisions would have been overturned from Sunday's loss, and they might have made all the difference.

"In the first half he called Kosta Barbarouses offside when he was onside and it continually happens to us," he said.

"We've been called eight times offside when our players were onside.

"Look at Bulut for Wanderers the other day, it just keeps happening."

The key decision was the 70th minute awarding of a free kick to Fornaroli, which Merrick suggested was contrived by the Uruguayan.

"If you watch Bruno, he's got hold of the shirt of Marco Rossi and he goes for an overhead kick," he said.

"He nearly kicks Marco in the face, misses the ball and pulls Marco down on top of him.

"Marco gets a yellow card and he gets a penalty ... that really killed us.

"When video referees come in those situations will resolve themselves so much better."

City coach John van 't Schip disagreed with Merrick's view of the Fornaroli winner, backing Ames' calls on both penalties.

"The referee in those two occasions made the right decision," he said.

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