Wellington Phoenix captain Andrew Durante has labeled Adelaide striker Jeronimo Neumann a cheat after the Phoenix were beaten 3-1 by the Reds at Hindmarsh Stadium tonight.
The Phoenix conceded three second-half goals and had Ben Sigmund sent off in a horror 30 minute spell after leading Adelaide 1-0, and Durante felt aggrieved that key decisions went against his team.
"We had a few tough decision against us, the first one was offside, second one he dived - he's a cheat in my book and I think the referees were shocking tonight," Durante said in a heated post-match interview.
"We work so hard on the road.. and to end the game with a referee decision like that, I mean that linesman on that far side did nothing to help this game I thought he was extremely poor."
Durante believed Neumann dived to get Sigmund sent off when his side were 2-1 down, effectively ending the Phoenix's chances of getting back into the match.
The Phoenix were well worth their 1-0 halftime lead after Belgian international Stein Huysegems scored his third goal from four starts in the 41st minute.
Ricki Herbert launched a well publicised search for a striker over the off-season and his pursuit was simple; find a clinical striker who knows how to find the back of the net on a regular basis.
Cast in the same mould as former front-man Shane Smeltz, Huysegems has well and truly answered that call, with his fourth impressive performance in as many outings.
Despite struggling to get involved with the game early in the first half, the former Belgian international did the business when it counted, cooly slotting home an Ifill through-ball with the ease of a seasoned pro.
But unfortunately for the Phoenix, other chances were few and far between.
Adelaide bounded out of the sheds in the second half, scoring two quick goals to quickly shift the momentum and pressure.
Jeronimo Neumann equalised for the home side in the 55th minute, clinically dispatching a half-hearted Phoenix corner clearance for his second of the season.
Cassio gave the home-side the lead 12 minutes later, finishing off a well-worked team goal before Neumann sealed the win with a strike in the 84th minute.
The Phoenix face a tough schedule ahead that sees the club return to Australia three more times in the next four weeks.
-nzherald.co.nzBy Steven Holloway @Shollow1 Email Steven