Ufuk Talay has accused VAR of "killing" the Big Blue clash with Melbourne Victory after his Sydney FC side overcome a controversial send-off for Patrick Wood to scrap their way to a 1-1 draw against the A-League Men leaders.
Wood was given his marching orders in the 37th minute at AAMI Park on Friday night as he and left-back Adama Traore attempted to win a high ball in Victory's half.
With eyes only for the ball - and with Victory's Roderick Miranda pushing him in the back - Wood stuck up a leg to control the ball as Traore did similar.
A huge moment in the Big Blue: Sydney FC are down to 10 🟥— Isuzu UTE A-League (@aleaguemen) January 26, 2024
After VAR review, Patrick Wood receives his marching orders.
Tune in on Paramount+ 📺#BigBlue #ALM pic.twitter.com/bv1x40DWsx
The slight nudge from behind meant that as Wood went to bring the ball down his studs landed flush on Traore's raised shins.
Neither player was injured but after being summoned to review the collision on the pitchside monitor, referee Adam Kersey showed Wood a straight red.
Matildas captain Sam Kerr voiced her opposition to the decision online, while Wood and Talay were both visibly furious.
That is never a red card surely? #bigblue— Sam Kerr (@samkerr1) January 26, 2024
"For 35 minutes both teams played a very good game and a good spectacle and in my opinion a poor decision ruined the game and killed the game," Talay told Paramount+ at fulltime.
"We see it live and then we see the replay, his foot is off the ground and so is Adama's.
"They've both got eyes for the ball - there's contact there, but is there serious foul play there?
"That's how they judged it, but for me, the intent is there to win the ball not hurt the player.
"There was no call on field and VAR brought it back to make that decision and that killed the spectacle that was out there."
Football Australia is likely to review the incident and determine whether the dismissal will warrant a suspension or if it will be rescinded.
But without Wood, Sydney showed terrific resolve against Victory, who will feel they missed a chance to open up a gap at the top of ALM table.
Tony Popovic's men remain undefeated this season but the draw means they are just one point clear of Wellington, who could leapfrog them at the summit with a win over Newcastle on Saturday.
Jordan Courtney-Perkins had given Sydney the lead after just 10 minutes when a deflected Luke Brattan shot fell into his path with the defender poking the ball past Paul Izzo.
Their lead lasted all of seven minutes, when Traore's cross made its way to Zinedine Machach, who tucked the ball past Andrew Redmayne.
Wood's send-off prompted Sydney into a change at halftime with Talay sacrificing Max Burgess for Fabio Gomes.
The Brazilian forward had few chances to put his side back in the lead as Victory were camped in Sydney's half but they couldn't make their advantage count.
Redmayne, in particular, pulled out all the stops to thwart Victory and salvage a gutsy draw.
"We did everything but score," lamented Popovic, whose side have now drawn three straight games.
"We lacked a little bit of that cutting edge around the box and the composure you need in those moments.
"Their defending, their keeper and our chances missed… that results in the draw that we had."