Mariners coach Alen Stajcic was left to ponder what should have been after his side copped three controversial penalties which Adelaide converted to win 3-2.
Central Coast Mariners coach Alen Stajcic says the intervention of VAR played a significant role in their dramatic - and bizarre - 3-2 loss to Adelaide United.
Stajcic's side had twice taken the lead in Friday's A-League clash, only for the Reds to be awarded a spot kick each time, with both being coolly converted by Tomi Juric.
The Socceroos striker then stepped up after United were awarded a third penalty in the 83rd minute and dispatched it to complete his hat-trick of spot kicks, ensuring the Reds stole all three points.
The Mariners were clearly the better side for much of the night and deserved more from the clash which was marred by VAR and the penalty decisions.
"Of course, it's affected the result," Stajcic said.
"We did alright; there was every chance we were going to win the game if those pens didn't happen but how do you know, that's the game of football.
"A crazy game, a weird game ... that's it, it's done."
Central Coast took the lead through Daniel De Silva on 15 minutes before Stefan Mauk went down in the area just after the half-hour.
Referee Adam Fielding immediately pointed to the spot, but VAR intervened. After a lengthy review, Fielding then upheld his original decision despite replays suggesting minimal contact.
Substitute Alou Kuol restored the Mariners lead on 62 minutes only for Mauk to be brought down in the area again a short time later.
Adelaide's third penalty was perhaps the most controversial, with VAR alerting Fielding, after a Mariners counter attack, about a handball which had occurred at the other end almost a minute earlier.
Stajcic disagreed with the decisions but was quick to acknowledge little could be done to alter the result.
"The first one, no chance. The second one was a bit soft," he said.
"They make mistakes as well, it's a game. You can't worry about that now, it's done. What do you want me to say?
"They made decisions. There are four pairs of eyes, five pairs of eyes so they're all paid employees and they're all paid to do their job, that's their decision.
"What are we going to do? We can't change it now, whether it's right or wrong."