Players were happy with ref, apart from one odd call
“A STONEWALL penalty”.
That was Socceroos midfielder Jackson Irvine’s take on referee Daniele Orsato’s controversial call to reverse his decision to award the Socceroos a spot kick in their 0-0 World Cup qualifying playoff first-leg draw against Honduras at the Estadio Olimpico Metropolitano.
Honduras goalkeeper Donis Escober knocked over Socceroos defender Bailey Wright as he advanced to clear a looped ball into his penalty area.
Orsato immediately pointed to the spot, but then noticed his assistant had his flag off.
Swarmed by Honduras players as he consulted with the linesman, Orsato changed his mind.
Escober then took what most thought was a free-kick for off-side, although Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou later revealed the referee told him it was a goal kick that was taken, suggesting the decision was reversed for another reason.
Irvine had no doubts the de- cision should not have been reversed.
“I can’t believe it. Anywhere else on the pitch if you win the ball and someone comes through you it’s a penalty,” he said. “I thought it was a stonewall penalty. It’ll be interesting to see it again.”
Irvine was otherwise content with the performance of the Italian whistleblower.
“I was quite pleased with the referee, he was quite vocal speaking to the players. He wanted to let the game flow a little bit at the beginning,” Irvine said.
Socceroos defender Trent Sainsbury, who like Irvine put in a tremendous shift, said he would not question Orsato’s judgment.
“He was paid to do his job so let him referee the game,” Sainsbury said.
Returning skipper Mile Jedinak, who was immense in his first game for Australia since June as he dealt with a groin injury, felt it was no use complaining about it.
“It was quite quick. I don’t have the benefit of a replay,” the Aston Villa hardman said.
“You’ve got to accept it and go on.”
Irvine was delighted to have Jedinak back in Socceroos colours.
“He’s a great presence. He’s a great character to have among the players. He really fills the space in the middle of the park,” Irvine said.