A furious Marcelo Lippi has accused Western Sydney of trying to get his players sent off after nine-man Guangzhou Evergrande were toppled 1-0 by the Wanderers in a fiery AFC Champions League quarter-final first leg on Wednesday night.
In a farcical end to the match, Lippi and members of his coaching staff stormed the field in stoppage time after Chinese international Gao Lin was dismissed.
It came just minutes after Zhang Linpeng also saw red, leaving the Italian World Cup-winning mentor incensed.
Lippi let rip in the post-match press conference, taking aim at the referee as well as Wanderers import Vitor Saba.
“I’m little bit upset. I know I couldn’t go inside the field but you also watched the match and the last 10 minutes there were two red cards,” Lippi said through an interpreter.
“The second one was really close to me, I saw that and it wasn’t on purpose. I also saw that during the match, the opponent was trying (to get my players a second yellow card). I’m not sure why the referee didn’t see this.
“…It’s not good in soccer to see like their number 10 (Saba) to be falling down and being so fake. It’s not good to see that sort of thing. For the good of the Asian Champions League we don’t want to see these type of things anymore.”
Lippi admitted he was wrong to enter the field and later tried to apologise to the referee, only to be turned away.
“You know me quite well and I have participated in all the main events in my career, like the World Cup and Champions League. I know it was wrong to go on the field but I just wanted to ask the referee why he gave the second red card,” Lippi said.
“I didn’t understand why he chose this. And then when I got inside I also tried to apologise to him, but one of the people didn’t let me go inside. It’s disappointing.
“Everyone that knows me knows I’m an educated person. At the end of the match I just wanted to apologise but they didn’t give me the chance. I don’t know why.
“I’m not upset for the match that we lost 1-0. We have our home match in one week and I trust we can do a good performance at home and advance to the semi-final.”
Wanderers boss Tony Popovic hit out at Lippi’s actions.
“I don’t know what he was upset about. Their coaches cannot go on the pitch,” he said.
“I’m sure if I went on the pitch I would be sent off. You can’t condone their coaches going on the pitch.
“We all disagree with decisions referees make, we voice our opinion from the sideline. They ran onto the pitch and manhandled a player. That I can’t accept.”