A-League: The victory beat the Sailors | Daily Telegraph
Fernando Romero had to smile at AAMI Park on Sunday after scoring his first A-League goal in Melbourne Victory’s 2-0 win over Central Coast Mariners.
However, the Paraguayan striker left the pitch in tears in the 66th minute after being sent off for a foul on Mariners midfielder Maxe Balare.
And while his red card didn’t cost the bottom-place winner a much-needed victory, the 22-year-old shooter was a distraught figure in the locker room.
Initially booked for a foul on Balar, Romero was smashed after referee Jonathan Barreiro deemed the foul worthy of an immediate removal after watching video footage of the incident on the advice of VAR.
While Romero touched the ball first, his spikes then caught Balar’s spawn as he shot.
Romero was comforted by the Mariners’ Brazilian pair Marco Tulio and Moreche as he left the field.
This was not the only flashpoint in the second half: Barreiro reversed his decision to award the Mariners a penalty in the 80th minute.
Tulio appeared to be hit from behind by Victory defensemen Damien Da Silva and Roderick Miranda.
However, after Barreiro pointed out the location, VAR advised him again to review the footage.
The Mariners were then amazed – and perhaps rightly so – when Barreiro changed his mind, despite there being more than enough evidence that there was no clear and obvious error in his original decision to point to the penalty spot.
Tulio was subsequently cautioned for disagreeing as the Mariners lost again in Victoria, where they had not won since 2014.
A brilliant shot from Bruno Fornaroli put Victory ahead in the 16th minute.
Seeing goaltender Danny Vukovic from his line, the veteran sharpshooter took down the Mariners’ glover with a smart shot from outside the Central Coast area to score his sixth goal of the season.
The Mariners had a chance to equalize in the 34th minute, but Sam Silvera failed to hit the target after being set up by Christian Theocharus.
Provider Theocharus then had an opportunity to equalize in stoppage time of the first half, but his shot flew over the bar.
The Mariners continued to build up their chances: Substitute Moreche missed a great opportunity early in the second half when he failed to land a header from close range.
Romero then doubled the Victory lead in the 56th minute when he crossed first from a close post from teammate Chris Iconomidis.
Despite Romero being sacked 10 minutes later, Victory managed to hold on with 10 players and win for just the sixth time this season.
“It was a really mature performance,” Iconomidis told Network 10.
“We really kept our heads up there and held on for a good win.”
Originally published as Victory holds on to beat Mariners despite sacking Fernando Romero