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Jan 24, 2011

Australia's image not tarnished by Muscat

Leading A-League coach Ange Postecoglou is confident Kevin Muscat's disgraceful tackle on young midfielder Adrian Zahra will not tarnish Australia's international reputation as having one of the cleanest competitions in the world.

Muscat's sickening challenge which ended Zahra's season and left him battling knee ligament damage, made headlines in the UK and Europe.

In just over 48 hours, video replays uploaded on the internet site YouTube.com attracted an astonishing 300,000 hits.

The tackle has not only upset current and former players - including former Socceroos team-mate Mark Bosnich - but has also left many soccer fans shocked by the ferocity which could easily have ended a young player's career.

"We're pretty good here in Australian to be honest. Our game is pretty clean and you want to maintain the integrity of that," defended Brisbane Roar coach Postecoglou, when asked for his views on Muscat's diabolical tackle.

"I'm sure people making the decisions will come up with the appropriate judgement but I don't think anyone would say it was good.

"I think even Kevin said it wasn't good.

"We want our players to certainly be tough and willing but always play within the rules of the game. I think that pretty much is the A-League."

Asked if he'd seen anything quite as bad, he said: "Yeah, I've seen worse ... but it wasn't good.

"When it affects a young player's career, it adds to it. (Even if) Adrian Zahra got out of it without any injury. I'd still think there would have to have been a hefty punishment to Kevin.

"Your concern always goes to the player who is injured.

"A player's career can be a short one and especially with young players you don't want any further obstacles in their way."

Having coached a 17 year-old Muscat, Postecoglou said the veteran defender with a long history of rough play would take responsibility for his actions.

A long suspension would likely spell the end of Muscat's A-League career, although he would be eligible for the Victory's upcoming Asian Champions League campaign.

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