GOLD Coast's fiery 1-0 win over Melbourne on Friday night has led coach Miron Bleiberg to state that he accepts any ramifications for Steve Pantelidis' ugly incident with Robbie Kruse.
Midway through the first-half Pantelidis looked to have deliberately elbowed Kruse as the young striker attempted to position himself to receive the ball from the Victory defence.
The incident - which is sure to come under scrutiny of the FFA match review panel, left Kruse unable to continue with a suspected injury to his AC joint and overshadowed Zenon Carvella's match-winning strike in the 77th minute.
However, Melbourne turned perpetrators a short time later when Kevin Muscat, in predictable fashion, felled United captain Jason Culina with another dreadful elbow off the ball.
"I tell you the truth, I missed them the same as the referee missed them, but according to the Fox (Sports) people, both of them were ugly," Bleiberg said to the media after the match.
"If that's the case, if Pantelidis made the mistake and made it ugly, then he will pay for it and I believe that the same will apply to the captain of the opposition."
While Bleiberg didn't defend Pantelidis' actions he did say that he thought Melbourne targeted the former Victory player in the hope that he would eventually be sent off.
"Everybody expects me to reprimand him; if you watch the game carefully you can see how (Carlos) Hernandez gave him an elbow and how Robbie Kruse bumped into him," Bleiberg said.
"Melbourne targeted him and fair enough that's a good tactic, but that's why I took him off.
"If he needs to pay the price he will pay the price.
"I took Pantelidis off because I didn't want the game to get ugly; I think I should be praised for it.
"Had he finished the half without a yellow I would have let him play. But once he had a card, logic prevails that they would find him in the second and I knew the game was there for the taking and I didn't want to take a risk."
On the Muscat-Culina incident, Bleiberg was animated but comfortable that the match review panel would pick up on it and hold Muscat accountable.
"I know Jason quite well and Jason wouldn't sit on the ground and simulate that ... You don't have to be Einstein to realise what happened."
With two rounds remaining in the season Gold Coast's win has now moved itonto equal points with Melbourne which sits first on 44 points, the Victory's superior goal difference the only separating factor.
United's intriguing run into the A-league finals culminates with matches against the Wellington Phoenix (home) and North Queensland Fury (away).