Marcello Lippi livid as Guangzhou Evergrande lose to Western Sydney
Zhang Linpeng and Gao Lin are sent off as the Asian Champions fall 1-0 to Western Sydney
Marcello Lippi was left fuming last night as Guangzhou Evergrande's Australian hoodoo continued, leaving the Asian champions needing to secure victory over Western Sydney Wanderers without the services of at least two of their key performers for the second leg of the AFC Champions League quarter-final next Wednesday.
Antony Golec scored the only goal of the game at Parramatta Stadium last night to give the Australian side a famous win, but it was the soft sendings off of Zhang Linpeng and Gao Lin late in the game that incensed Lippi and which means both players will miss the return match at Tianhe Stadium.
Lippi stormed on to the pitch to remonstrate with referee Mohammed Abdullah Hassan Mohamed from the United Arab Emirates after Gao was dismissed and the Italian World Cup winner had to be restrained by his own staff before the game could be restarted.
"I'm not upset because of the game," said Lippi. "We lost 1-0, but we have our home game in a week so I trust we will put in a good performance at home and we can still go through to the semi-finals. That's not the main reason why I'm upset.
"I know I shouldn't go inside the field but in the last 10 minutes we had two red cards. To be honest, the first was a little bit far away so I didn't see it clearly but the second one was close to me and I saw clearly that it was not a red card.
"I have participated in all the main events in my career, like the World Cup, the Uefa Champions League and I know it was wrong to go inside the field, but I just wanted to ask the referee why he chose to give the second red card. I didn't understand why he did this."
Zhang was given a straight red card after a tussle with Tomi Juric, while in the dying seconds Gao was dismissed when Vitor Saba was left clutching his face after the China international accidentallyly brushed against the Brazilian with his boot.
Lippi attempted to approach the officials for an explanation after the conclusion of the game, but none was forthcoming.
"When I went inside [after the game] I tried to apologise to the referee and I tried to knock on his door," said Lippi, whose side had also lost to Australian side Melbourne Victory in the group stages of the tournament.
"I wanted to apologise and say I was not protesting, but I wanted more information on the decision but I wasn't allowed inside and I was disappointed.
"At the end, it's not good in football to see this, like the No 10 [Saba] falling over and faking injury. That's not good. People who know me know that I'm an educated person and a simple person but at the end of the match I wanted to say sorry and apologise, but they didn't give me the chance to do that."