Tim Cahill of Melbourne City walks off after being red carded before even being substituted on to the field during the round 18 A-League match against the Melbourne Victory.
Tim Cahill of Melbourne City walks off after being red carded before even being substituted on to the field during the round 18 A-League match against the Melbourne Victory. JOE CASTRO

Cahill send-off overshadows great weekend of A-League

JUST when you thought you had seen it all in Tim Cahill's career, the Socceroos star then gets sent off before even entering the field of play in the controversial Melbourne derby.

Melbourne City boss Michael Valkanis was incredulous after his marquee man was shown red for presumably arguing about the decision to give the Victory the winning goal in the derby.

"There are some things that happened that I've never seen in my footballing career," the City coach said after the game.

"I'm not sure what happened with Tim, we'll have to ask the referee. I don't think it's the right time to speak to the referee."

The seemingly contentious call gave the Victory a 2-1 win. But having watched the goal a number of times, I don't see it as contentious at all.

While Besart Berisha was in an offside position, once Manny Muscat put the ball in the back of his own net, Berisha's position became irrelevant.

Presumably Cahill, who was preparing to come on as a sub, was sent off before entering the field of play for arguing about that goal being allowed to stand.

We might not ever know what he said. But what we do know is that he lost his discipline and paid the price.

"All I can say is I saw the flag go up," Valkanis said.

"I'll have to have a look at it again. At that stage I was calling Tim to come on, then all hell broke loose.

"Some contentious decisions I won't speak about, we'll have to see the video and analyse it. It's not the time to speak about it."

Surprisingly enough, though, Cahill isn't the first substitute to be sent off with little or no involvement in a game.

In 2015, Matty McClure was brought on as a sub in the 67th minute during Wycombe Wanderers' 2-1 win against Tranmere.

But 3.7 seconds later McClure saw red after catching Tranmere's Adam Dugdale with an elbow as play restarted.

While that was quick, Swansea's Walter Boyd (2000) and Sheffield United's Keith Gillespie (2007) were both sent off - like Cahill - before entering the field of play as a sub.

Sadly, the Cahill incident and one involving Melbourne City goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis - when he appeared to be caught on camera calling Besart Berisha a "gypsy" - overshadowed what was a great weekend of football in the A-League.

As the saying goes, Friday night's 0-0 draw between the Brisbane Roar and runaway leader Sydney FC was a great advert for the A-League.

It had passion, goalmouth action and some brilliant performances from goalkeepers Michael Theo and Danny Vukovic.

The only thing missing from the game was a goal.

It was just a shame that the standard of the pitch and the size of the crowd was not a little bit better.

Surely the game of the round deserves to have a pitch that doesn't keep breaking up and causing players to lose their footing.

It also deserved to have a crowd bigger than just over 13,000.

I would have thought that the possibility of seeing your side end Sydney FC's unbeaten record would have brought the fans out.

It was just disappointing to see so many empty seats for such an entertaining game.

News Corp Australia


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