The verbal stoush between Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory is still bubbling away almost a week after their 3-3 A-League draw.
The fallout stems from an incident in the 71st minute of Saturday night’s ‘Big Blue’ match, when Sydney’s Seb Ryall fell over in the box under minimal contact from Victory’s Gui Finkler.
With Sydney trailing 2-1, the referee pointed to the spot and Shane Smeltz stepped up to convert.
The incident drew a stinging response from Victory coach Kevin Muscat post-match.
“The penalty wasn’t questionable it was just no-existent. It was so far from being a penalty,” Muscat said.
“There’s a group of players in there that are accountable for their actions because I make them. It just seems at the moment not everyone is accountable for their actions.”
But that wasn’t the end of it.
On Tuesday Victory midfielder Kosta Barbarouses slammed the culture of the Sydney team.
“You lose a bit of respect for him and his reaction wasn’t great … hopefully karma will come around,” he said.
“That’s something they have to deal with in the culture of their team, not ours.”
The issue was still making headlines on Wednesday, when Ryall was cleared by Football Federation Australia of simulation.
Sydney FC owner Tony Pignata said Barbarouses shouldn’t have said what he did.
“Sebastian is not a diver and I’m pleased his character is intact over this,” Pignata said.
“We are disappointed with some of the responses to this incident.
“Particularly from players at other clubs who should perhaps look within their own club before commenting on our club or players.”
Sydney coach Graham Arnold declared Barbarouses and Muscat would have to back track.
“It was exactly what we expected,” Arnold said.
“Seb said that his heel was clipped and we believed him.
“It’s a pity because Seb has copped a fair bit of stick over it the last few days and had his reputation tarnished.
“Now everyone has to go back on what they’ve said because he was proved innocent.”
Muscat, however, said his club supported Barbarouses’ stance but was eager to move on.
“Kosta certainly has my full support and the rest of his teammates’ full support – and probably every other players in the competition’s full support,” he said.
“These things, where does it stop?
“If I make a comment, someone will make a comment tomorrow.
“It really has nothing to do with us … the game finished, the footage speaks for itself, the decision was made last night, we move on.”
Arnold did, however, condemn Ryall for his actions immediately after the incident, when he approached Finkler and gave him a provocative slap to the back of the head.
“I had a harsh word to Seb about what he did after the penalty to Gui Finkler. I don’t accept that,” the veteran coach said.
“I haven’t been happy the last two weeks in ourselves in Sydney FC, there’s been too many melees in the games.
“It’s something we’ve spoken about in the dressing room and I don’t want to see it again.
“I want to see a good disciplined football team.”