‘They have to be protected’: Yorke says Arzani, Davila are being targeted

Macarthur FC coach Dwight Yorke has called for referees to do more to protect creative players in the Isuzue UTE A-League after captain Ulises Davila and Daniel Arzani yet again came under harsh treatment for opposition defenders, after the Bulls suffered a 1-0 loss to Melbourne Victory at home.

In the returning match for captain Ulises Davila from injury, Yorke believes the Mexican playmaker and Daniel Arzani yet again came in for undue treatment from Victory’s defenders in what he believes is becoming a norm in the competition.

“It’s something that we are very concerned about,” Yorke said.

“We seem to be singled out because we’ve got two exciting players and they target our players.

“I think the referees need to protect those two players and don’t get the rub of the green. I don’t want to point the finger at them (referees).

“Good players get kicked all the time but I don’t think they have got protected as well as they could.”

A late strike for substitute Ben Folami sealed the plucky win for Melbourne at Campbelltown Stadium in the Bull’s first game of the A-League since the break for the 2022 World Cup.

It was a harsh result for Dwight Yorke’s Macarthur FC who dictated the tempo and bemoaned a flurry of missed chances that should have sealed a result for the hosts.

Amid sapping heat in South West Sydney, the Bulls held their own early in the match and thought they had broken the deadlock in the 25th minute when Georgian striker Bachana Arabuli hit the back of the net for the first time in Australia. However, the goal was ruled out before his celebrations could begin with the linesman flagging for offside in the build-up to Arabuli’s strike.

The lively Jed Drew caused problems for Victory’s backline down the right flank and threatened with a handful of chances either side of half-time while Davila showed his danger in his first game since round two, forcing a goal-line clearance from Melbourne’s Jason Geria shortly after the restart.

At the other end, Bull’s goalkeeper Filip Kurto was also firm when called into action. He made a fine save from Melbourne’s Nick D’Agostino early in the second half, tipping a looping shot onto the crossbar and out to safety.

Kurto was equally impressive in denying Chris Ikonomidis midway through the second half before Bulls’ substitute Jerry Skotadis came agonisingly close with a powerful long-range strike late in the half.

However, Victory sealed all three points in the 85th minute when substitute Ben Folami pounced on a counter attack, finishing in the top corner to make it 1-0.