Penalty drama as Mariners stun Victory

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A-League: The Central Coast Mariners claimed a dramatic last minute win over the Melbourne Victory, thanks to two VAR decisions in stoppage time.

Matt Simon converts one of his two late penalties. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Two late penalties from Matt Simon has lifted Central Coast Mariners to their first win over Melbourne Victory since 2013 after a dramatic finish at Gosford.

Both penalties were scored in stoppage time as Victory squandered a 2-1 lead before the Mariners secured the 3-2 victory.

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Victory hit the front for a second time in the 78th minute when Adama Traore’s driving pass into the box rebounded off Kye Rowles into the net for an own goal.

The match was then headed for an unbelievable conclusion.

A handball decision went against Simon in the 90th minute before VAR intervened and showed the ball hitting the arm of Victory defender James Donachie.

Simon converted his spot-kick to level the match at 2-2.

Victory then conceded another penalty when Leigh Broxham brought down Michael McGlinchey in the box.

VAR again reviewed the decision but the penalty stood and Simon was given another chance from the spot to win the game for the Mariners.

A furious Victory coach Marco Kurz was shown a red card on the final whistle after remonstrating with the fourth official.

Matt Simon celebrates on his two late goals. Picture: Getty Images

Matt Simon celebrates on his two late goals. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Kurz was more measured after the game but was convinced the second penalty should not have been awarded.

“It’s part of the football game – everybody wants to win,” Kurz said.

“If you are 2-1 winning and concede two penalties in overtime, it’s normal that you have some emotions and that was part of the game today.”

“We have to respect the decision from the ref.

“The first was from Don (Donachie). it’s very hard to defend Simon in the box. It was touching from both sides and he touched the ball with his hand but, from Brox (Broxham), it was not a penalty. That’s my personal opinion.”

The drama escalated further after Simon slotted his second goal as players from both sides clashed in an ugly confrontation

Lawrence Thomas reacts to the penalty decision. Picture: Getty Images

Lawrence Thomas reacts to the penalty decision. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Earlier, VAR overruled a chance for the home side to go in front early in the second half when it looked as though Rowles had scored.

The 21-year-old netted an assist from Jair in front of goal, but it was pulled back when VAR ruled he was off-side.

VAR was called on again midway through the second half, upholding a decision by the referee not to award the Mariners a penalty when Simon was knocked over by Donachie in the box.

It angered home fans and Mariners star Milan Duric, who was yellow-carded after a showdown with the referee.

The win leaves the Mariners just two points out of the top six with genuine finals hopes.

“Just in terms of quality of football, I think we’ve shown we’re capable of being in that finals series, but showing it and proving it and getting the results are a different story,” coach Alen Stajcic said.

“We’ve got a lot of hard work to do to keep improving week by week.

“I’ve been pleased with the way we’ve progressed in the past few weeks.”

Victory face Adelaide on Friday night, while the Mariners take on Western United in round 15.

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