Soccer: Herbert stunned by Sigmund decision

Ben Sigmund in action against Adelaide United. Photo / Getty Images
Ben Sigmund in action against Adelaide United. Photo / Getty Images

Wellington coach Ricki Herbert has launched a two-pronged attack on the competency of A-League refereeing and players ruining the game by diving.

The Phoenix mentor was responding to the A-League match review committee's decision on Monday to uphold the red card given to defender Ben Sigmund for bringing down Adelaide's Argentine midfielder Jeronimo Neumann in the box on Saturday.

TV replays showed plenty of space between the players in the 77th minute incident, prompting speculation Neumann might face disciplinary action himself for diving.

Wellington skipper Andrew Durante clearly thought so, labelling the South American a cheat in an interview after the game.

"Unfortunately the referee in our game with Adelaide did not deal with the situation competently and we are paying the penalty rather than the player who was guilty of simulation,'' Herbert said of the match review committee's decision.

He then opened old wounds by recalling referee Jarred Gillett's controversial decision to award a penalty to Brisbane in the 94th minute of the 2012 A-League grand final against Perth.

The Roar converted the spot kick to snatch the title when the Glory's Liam Miller was adjudged to have brought down Besart Berisha in the box.

"This referee has been in the same situation in a Grand Final and did not deal with it competently there either,'' said Herbert who will have to do without Sigmund who will serve a mandatory one-match suspension against Melbourne Victory this weekend.

"It is very disappointing for both Ben and the club that he will miss the game against Melbourne Victory, and also wrong that the game is being ruined by players who dive and do not get punished for it.''

Under the competition's rules on simulation introduced two seasons ago, any player found guilty of diving faces a standard two-match ban.

Durante still faces the prospect of breaching the A-League player code of conduct but he wasn't mentioned in the FFA statement on Monday night.

An angry Durante didn't hold back in comments made to a television interviewer on the field immediately after the match saying: "He has dived, he's a cheat.''

He then qualified his comment by saying: "In my book, if he's dived he's a cheat.''

Perth's Steve Pantelidis was also handed a mandatory one-match suspension on Monday after a more clear-cut incident in his side's 2-1 loss to Sydney FC.

The Glory defender was shown a red card for a blatant foul on Brett Emerton when he dragged the midfielder to the ground in the box in the 57th minute.

Pantelidis will miss this weekend's match against the Newcastle Jets.

- AAP

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