Western Sydney boss Marko Rudan unloaded on referee Shaun Evans as he faced up to the prospect of being without Marcelo after the Wanderers captain was sent off for placing Adelaide wonderkid Nestory Irankunda in a headlock.

The Wanderers lost a golden opportunity to cut the gap at the top of the A-League Men table as they fell to a 3-2 defeat against Adelaide United on Friday.

Rudan’s side conceded all three goals from corners with a Ben Warland double and a Hiroshi Ibusuki tap-in helping Adelaide reduce Melbourne City’s lead at the top to just one point.

But the biggest talking point from CommBank Stadium will be the fracas at the death which led to the Wanderers’ Brazilian skipper being sent off.

Marcelo, who along with Kusini Yengi scored for the Wanderers, placed Irankunda in a stranglehold after the 17-year-old shoved Western Sydney midfielder Calem Nieuwenhof after a cynical foul.

As Irankunda remonstrated with Nieuwenhof and Morgan Schneiderlin, Marcelo came from behind and put the teenage sensation in a headlock.

The flashpoint triggered an all-in fracas.

Rudan was puzzled why Evans didn’t dismiss Irankunda and Adelaide defender Lachlan Barr, who “sprinted from 50 metres” to push Marcelo.

“It’s retaliation, does a player have to fall over in order for it to be a red card?” Rudan said.

“What Calem did, he did and he got a yellow card for it.

“But Irankunda shoves him twice, but because Calem holds his feet … nothing.

“That’s why Marcelo got involved because of the retaliation from Irankunda.

“Shaun doesn’t take control in that moment, and then the melee starts and that was the issue I’ve got.

“A stronger referee wouldn’t let that happen, we didn’t get consistency there today.

“That’s what irks me is the lack of consistency with the officiating.”

The Wanderers had enjoyed the better of the play before Warland headed in his first of the night from a short corner.

Yengi hit back for the Wanderers just before halftime but Warland’s second and a well-taken goal from Ibusuki set Carl Veart’s men on course to extend their unbeaten run to 11 matches.

Marcelo pulled one back for the Wanderers but his night ended in disgrace after being dismissed for his involvement in the fracas.

“They protected him (Irankunda),” Veart said.

“We’re a solid team and we all back each other up.

“We’re not even looking at City, we just want to keep going until the end of the season.”

Source: AAP