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Jan 25, 2022   |  11:08PM AET

Post-match reaction: Popovic

Post-match reaction: Popovic

Melbourne Victory Head Coach Tony Popovic praised Ben Folami for an “outstanding” performance in Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with Sydney FC.

Folami opened the scoring at AAMI Park and set up Robbie Kruse’s second-half goal, but Victory’s leads were cancelled out by Milos Ninkovic and Bobo.

Bobo’s goal from a corner came after Victory was unfortunate not to be awarded a free-kick for a high boot by Elvis Kamsoba on Leigh Broxham.

Speaking at his post-match news conference, Popovic discussed that decision, the performance and injuries suffered by Rai Marchan and Jay Barnett.

on the decision…
“It’s a clear, clear foul. We had a player (Marchan against Perth Glory) here sent off for a very similar challenge so if you don’t deem it as a yellow or red card, it’s a foul. It’s a clear foul. That linesman on our side was constantly lifting his flag for a foul that he thought the ref didn’t see and he thought, ‘Okay, I’ll help you out, this is a foul.’ On that occasion, between the two of them they can’t see that it’s a clear foul, the simplest decision of the night and it cost us.”

on the performance…
“First half we were rusty, we looked like a team that maybe hasn’t played in 17 days, we had a lot of changes at the back, we lost another player before the game unfortunately at the back so it was a makeshift backline. Jason (Davidson’s) first game back at left-back, it was a little bit difficult in the first half, but I thought at the start of the second half was a complete turnaround and we dominated, had some very good clear chances prior to us scoring. I thought it was very good and then unfortunately with Rai’s head injury the momentum stopped again, we lost a lot of minutes there and gave them a chance to regroup which made it difficult, but our goals were very good and Ben Folami was outstanding and it was great to see Robbie score, very happy for Robbie, and in the end you shouldn’t lose a game to those circumstances.”

on Folami…
“It’s great to see a young player like that that hasn’t played regular football for a long time. From day one of pre-season he really knuckled down and he had a great training block in that time, he didn’t get injured so he could be consistent in his training and he showed, he keeps getting better. I thought against Adelaide he was very good, in particular first half, and today he put two halves together, he moved to the right side and caused them problems as well with the setup. He should’ve scored early in the second half which maybe we would’ve been able to finish the game off earlier, but very good performance, second half just the injury didn’t help and we had to reshuffle again and a decision like that shouldn’t determine the match.”

on Barnett and Marchan…
“Jay Barnett was just not playing a long time, the kid found it hard in the first half and it was just really fatigued, just really fatigued and the kid came off. That’s another change we had to make at the back. Rai’s injury doesn’t look good, so it was not just a concussion but it was a heavy contact, I think it will be a serious contact.”

on severity of Marchan’s injury…
“It’s hard to determine now, but I think he’ll be out for a little while. I hope not, but it’s possible so he’s gone to hospital and we hope he recovers well there but I think he’ll be out for a little while.”