Western Sydney Wanderers coach Tony Popovic remains unconcerned about Al Hilal’s complaints over the refereeing of the Asian Champions League final, which the Saudi club described as a ‘black spot in the history of Asian football’.
Wanderers became the first Australian team to win Asia’s most prestigious club title when a 0-0 draw in Riyadh last Saturday gave them a 1-0 aggregate win over two legs.
They were arrogant when they came to Sydney. They were arrogant in the second game
Twice Asian champions Al-Hilal released an incendiary statement late on Monday, calling for a formal probe into the appointment of the referees and saying they had been denied six penalties over the two matches.
“That’s not really a concern for us,” a deadpan Popovic told reporters in Sydney on Wednesday.
“Over the 180 minutes in two games, they didn’t score a goal. We did and we’re the champions.”
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have yet to respond publicly to the Al-Hilal statement but will investigate the brawl that followed the final whistle on Saturday.
That incident appeared to have been sparked by Al-Hilal striker Nasser Al-Shamrani spitting at Wanderers defender Matthew Spiranovic.
After such scenes and the hubristic pre-match comments from Al-Hilal coach Laurentiu Reghecampf, Wanderers goalkeeper Ante Covic said he found it hard to feel sorry for the Saudis.
“If they want to investigate the penalties maybe they should investigate their players and their behaviour after the game,” Covic, who was named Man of the Match in the final, told Fox Sports TV.
“For me that was more disgraceful than anything that happened on the field. They’re going to be bitter. They were arrogant when they came to Sydney. They were arrogant in the second game, they believed they should win by default.”