Sydney FC’s Sasa Ognenovski has been cited following an incident in the derby game with the Wanderers but his coach fully supported him.
Sydney FC coach Graham Arnold has jumped to the defence of Sasa Ognenovski following an incident that led to him being cited by the A-League’s match review panel on Monday.
The central defender has been issued with a show cause notice after taking a swipe at the head of Western Sydney Wanderers star Vitor Saba following the Brazilian’s red card during Saturday’s incident-packed Sydney derby which saw the Sky Blues come from behind to win 3-2 in front of a crowd of over 42,000 at Allianz Stadium.
Ognenovski reacted after Saba had been dismissed for a late tackle on young midfielder Terry Antonis.
The former Socceroos defender had already been booked at the time of that incident and later in the game was embroiled in a row with his goalkeeper Vedran Janjetovic after the young shotstopper helped out Wanderers’ full-back Brendan Hamill when he went down with cramp.
Arnold said the flashpoints and the passion shown by his players was indicative of any big derby game around the world and don’t deserve a suspension.
“It was a derby. I will always support my players,” Arnold said.
“There is a lot of emotion that goes through every player and supporter in a derby. It just shows the desperation of what it takes to win a derby. “There have been other things that have happened in the derby games and this is just another.
“There are plenty of other things to look at, a little flick on the back of the head is nothing.”
Ognenovski has until midday (AEDT) on Tuesday to respond to the notice and the panel will reconvene in the afternoon to decide the fate of the 35-year-old.
Arnold said Ognenovski was one of several players in his squad still feeling the affects from the game as he looks like being forced into making wholesale changes for Tuesday’s FFA Cup quarter-final clash with Adelaide United which comes just three days before an encounter with reigning champions Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium.
“Because of the tight schedule we are just looking to see which players got through the game,” he said.
“It’s only 48 hours after the game and that is normally when they are at their stiffest.
“It’s very tough, the scheduling hasn’t been great for us – Adelaide played on Friday, we played on Saturday and we play Brisbane on Friday.
“But that’s what’s been dealt to us and we want to respect the FFA Cup
“When I say respect that means playing the best players, but for this game it looks like being the best players available. But from first look there is going to be a few out.”