Commentators stunned as penalty chaos turns Semi-Final upside down

Paramount+ commentators were left stunned as Wellington Phoenix received a penalty in their Semi-Final against Melbourne Victory. Then, Paul Izzo came up with the goods again.

The biggest match in Wellington Phoenix history took an extraordinary turn on the hour mark, with referee Daniel Elder awarding the home side a penalty for a handball committed by Melbourne Victory forward Daniel Arzani.

The Nix had a chance to take the lead from the spot after the ball ricocheted into Arzani’s arm as Tim Payne attempted to cross the ball in from the right flank; however, it appeared to do so after also hitting his thigh and his chest.

According to Football Australia: “After an on-field review, the defender’s arm was extended above the body, making him unnaturally bigger. 

“The ball hits the arm after deflection of the body with the ball travelling in the same direction. These factors make it a punishable handball offence.”

However, the drama did not end there, with Phoenix captain Alex Rufer seeing his spot kick saved by Paul Izzo, whose penalty-saving ability is well noted after he saved four of them to hand his side an extraordinary Elimination Final win over rivals Melbourne City a fortnight ago.

Izzo not only saved the spot kick, but also a follow up shot, to preserve the deadlock.

On commentary, Paramount+ expert Andy Harper could not believe what he was watching.

“I have to say it looked like it came off his chest to me, chest into arm, which means play on,” Harper said.

“Doesn’t the deflection negate the handball?

“Clearly Daniel Arzani… he’s clearly trying to cheat there? It’s clear to everyone isn’t it? Don’t be ridiculous. I am at a loss. I am just at a loss.

“I’m going to have that explained to me.

“I go back to the Barbarouses penalty in the first half… I’d have been more comfortable with that one.

“I’m so confused.”

Co-commentator Robbie Thomson added:“Daniel Arzani cannot believe it. Daniel Elder has awarded a penalry on the hour mark in Wellington.

“Melbourne Victory cannot believe it and i dont think they’re the only ones.”

It was Izzo’s fourth penalty save of the season, excluding shootouts, and the second straight effort Rufer had failed to convert from the spot.