Taylor Regan of Adelaide United heads the ball towards goal.
Taylor Regan of Adelaide United heads the ball towards goal. DAVID MARIUZ

Diving claims mar Reds and Glory stalemate

DIVING is the scourge of soccer.

But what's worse is a referee that gets sucked in by a melodramatic fall or is it the fault of players trying to con match officials for a favour?

Diego Castro, Perth Glory's Johnny Warren Medallist, had his name smeared in a game-changing incident against Adelaide United at Hindmarsh on Friday night.

One of the fairest and most talented men in the Australian game was the centre of a huge talking point after Dylan McGowan gave Adelaide the lead in the first half before the clash ended 1-1.

It was a dubious penalty won and converted by Castro on the stroke of half time that put the visitors back in the clash perhaps unfairly when Adelaide was well on top.

The incident infuriated Reds stopper Taylor Regan who couldn't contain his anger any longer exchanging words with Castro as players headed for half time refreshments.

Castro penalty controversy: Reds v Glory
Castro penalty controversy: Reds v Glory

Regan was furious that his teammate McGowan was back in the spotlight unjustifiably when Castro won the spot kick just before the break.

McGowan was already having a huge night before that penalty fuelled the bad blood.

McGowan must have been cursing himself for at least two minutes before scoring the opening goal when the game was 23 minutes old.


Diego Castro of Perth Glory during the Round 25 A-League match between Adelaide United and Perth Glory at Coopers Stadium in Adelaide, Friday, March 31, 2017. (AAP Image/David Mariuz) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY
Diego Castro of the Perth Glory. DAVID MARIUZ

The stopper missed an absolute sitter in the 21st minute from a Sergio Cirio corner when he ghosted past Glory's last line but got his angles all wrong when trying to sidefoot the ball home.

A corner at the opposite western end of Hindmarsh taken by Marcelo Carrusca allowed McGowan to bury his earlier miss deep inside his memory bank.

It came from Regan's header which ricocheted off the post before the South Australian reacted from point blank range to nod the ball home.

But his third goal of the season was erased by a decision from a referee who wasn't meant to be in charge.

The game faced a kick off delay when originally named referee Alan Milliner suffered a hamstring injury during the warm up.

He was replaced by fourth official, SA's Daniel Elder for just his seventh A-League match.

He made the controversial call on the stroke of half time which had echoes of simulation.

Experienced referee Chris Beath, who was conducting a video assistant referee trial before it's famously launched worldwide when Adelaide faces Melbourne City away next weekend, was promoted to fourth official.

But the controversy all started when Castro first slalomed his way past Nikola Mileusnic and Regan inside the box before he had to dance around McGowan to get closer to goal.

Castro theatrically hit the deck before the Spaniard was awarded a penalty.

He easily converted to square the ledger but fans and Regan let Castro know that what had just transpired probably wasn't in the spirit of the game.

Castro was booed every time he touched the ball in the second half with some unforgiving fans even going as far as calling him "cheat" and cheering every mistake from the gifted forward.

But after all the attention was on Castro it was Socceroo Riley McGree's superb vision which split Glory apart in the 70th minute only to see Baba Diawara's on-target effort smack against the legs of Perth keeper Liam Reddy and out for a corner.

Tarek Elrich then had Reddy at full stretch in the 74th minute after a sharp ball from substitute Ben Garuccio before Chris Harold won a free kick 25m from goal which was easily blocked by the Reds wall.

Baba had a case for a spot kick when Dino Djulbic appeared to grab the Senegalese striker's arm inside the box but Elder didn't flinch in the 78th minute.

But Elder got the yellow card out for Baba in the 81st minute when Romanian stopper Lucian Goian went down clutching his face after a heading duel just outside the six yard box.