Rufer cops one-match suspension

The Wellington Phoenix will be without their captain for Saturday’s top of the table Isuzu UTE A-League match against Central Coast Mariners in Gosford.

Alex Rufer has been suspended for one game after being sent off late in the Phoenix’s 1-0 win over Brisbane Roar on Easter Sunday.

Rufer was initially yellow carded for standing on the leg of Roar midfielder Henry Hore in the 78th minute of the match at Sky Stadium. But following intervention from the video assistant referee, the referee upgraded his decision to a red card.

Football Australia’s independent match review panel (MRP) met today and ruled Rufer should only serve the mandatory one match suspension.

The MRP agreed with the sending off but downgraded the offence from “violent conduct” to “serious foul play” as they determined the Phoenix captain was playing the ball.

Alex Rufer will be available for the Wellington Phoenix’s round 24 match against Melbourne Victory on Friday, April 12 at Sky Stadium.