Soccer: Durante's rant unacceptable but understandable

By Kris Shannon

Andrew Durante. Photo / Getty Images
Andrew Durante. Photo / Getty Images

After watching his partner in defence be wrongly dismissed and seeing his side drop points due to an offside goal, the last thing Andrew Durante would have wanted was a microphone waved in his face.

But that's what the Phoenix captain found, only a minute after the final whistle of Wellington's 3-1 loss to Adelaide last night.

He let rip with a rant which would have had Phoenix fans vigorously nodding their heads, brought broad smiles to the broadcasters screening the surreal interview, and left A-League bosses beginning disciplinary procedures.

Even if Durante may have been correct in calling Adelaide's Jeronimo Neumann a cheat and even though he may have been justified in labelling the officials extremely poor, he did cross a line and he will probably be punished.

But can you really blame him?

Durante is a frank and honest footballer, not afraid of speaking his mind but usually capable of demonstrating the diplomacy required from a captain.

Immediately after the game, however, having barely been given a chance to take a swig of water let alone a few deep breaths, any diplomacy from Durante was understandably astray.

That's the problem - and beauty - with interviews immediately after the match, when the subject is straight from the heat of the battle and any perceived slights are fresh in mind.

The League Managers' Association in England has in the past called for clemency when coach after coach falls foul of the FA for speaking their mind mere minutes after fulltime. Most of those managers - with some notable exceptions - would choose to bite their tongue if given a bit of time to calm down, but they just can't help themselves when their pulse is still racing after watching referees cost their side points.

Durante was the same. He knew exactly what he was doing - making a point about the latest, and perhaps worst, example of the sub-standard officiating that plagues the A-League.

But he is likely to regret the blunt manner in which he made that point. Given a chance to cool his heels, Durante probably would have made similar comments at the post-match press conference, comments which would have been carefully screened with the filter sportspeople apply in those situations.

That was the case with Durante's coach. Ricki Herbert was similarly aggrieved but, with his exasperation tempered by time, his views on the incidents are unlikely to see him in hot water.

"If the boy hasn't dived, then fine, we all move on," Herbert said of Neumann. As for the offside goal: "You have seen the video footage, write it yourself; I probably don't need to put words in your mouth," he told reporters. "We have got an opinion and sometimes we can't voice it, and I think that is to be respected."

Herbert's captain did voice his opinion and he will almost certainly be fined for that. But it is hoped the A-League shows more restraint than the player and avoids coming down on Durante too harshly.

- APNZ

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