Flashpoint: Referee Strebre Dilovski speaks to Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat on the sideline.

Flashpoint: Referee Strebre Dilovski speaks to Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat on the sideline. Photo: Getty Images

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Seething Melbourne Victory coach Kevin Muscat slammed the decision to award Sydney FC a "non-existent" penalty in Saturday night's 3-3 thriller as symptomatic of the refereeing crisis gripping the A-League, claiming "the two sets of teams are not deciding the outcome of the game".

Coaches and critics across the competition have been bewildered by the soaring number of bad decisions made this season but it may be the incident that led to Shane Smeltz's second-half spot kick at Allianz Stadium which leads Football Federation Australia to take action.

Sydney FC's Sebastian Ryall was looking to run in behind Melbourne Victory playmaker Gui Finkler when the defender clipped his own feet and tumbled over, leading referee Strebre Delovski to award a penalty that put Sydney, then trailing 2-1, back into the game.

Muscat was left shocked at the decision but said the catalogue of bad calls was becoming too much for all coaches to bear.

"The penalty wasn't questionable, it was non-existent. It's so far from being a penalty," Muscat said at the post-match press conference. "Unfortunately, there's a group of players in there who have to be accountable for all their actions, because I make them. It just seems at the moment that not everyone is accountable for their actions.

"What we'll all say tomorrow - what a great advert for the A-League - I totally disagree. If we just start giving away [penalties], making decisions [like that] and claiming it's an advert for the A-League, we're going down the wrong path. We're heading severely down the wrong path. It just seems at the moment the two sets of teams are not deciding the outcome of the game."

Muscat said it was frustrating the flow of the match wasn't turned by the quality of the opponent but the officials.

"At that point in time, we were very very comfortable," he said. "We just a missed a chance to go up 3-1 through Adrian Leijer's header and then the momentum was turned, not by the opposition but by the referee. Then, I was very disappointed when we got our noses ahead but we didn't hold on."

Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold - who was recently fined $5000 for criticising a referee - had his own beef with Delovski, saying he felt the same way about the Ryall incident as he did about other calls that went against his side on the night.

"Probably what I made of the [Terry] Antonis [overlooked] penalty and [the Jason] Geria [incident] – he should have had two yellow cards. It's exactly the same [as Ryall's penalty]," he said. "You get some good ones and you get some bad ones."

Arnold praised his own players as "outstanding" and said they they dominated all but the 15-minute stretch before half-time where Victory scored twice, both goals coming as Sydney gave up possession.

"The difference is their transition to attack. They're lethal and that was the disappointing thing [because] we worked on it at training during the week," he said. "In the first 30 minutes it was some of the best football I've seen in the A-League. Then two cheap turnovers and we were down 2-1."

While Arnold again referenced Victory as the "benchmark of the competition", and said he was relishing the competitive tension of three gilt-edged Big Blue contests this season, which all ended in draws, Muscat returned the compliment with interest. 

"I've give you a statement - I think Sydney have got the best team in the league, with their recruits," he said. "But we've certainly got improvement and that's the make-up of the squad. It's in our DNA to go on and we want to be the best we possibly can."