New Zealand coach Danny Hay criticised the officiating after his team’s World Cup playoff defeat on Tuesday, saying he was surprised FIFA appointed a referee from the United Arab Emirates to handle their intercontinental clash against Costa Rica in Doha.

The Central Americans won 1-0 to take the last available World Cup slot but only after a contentious VAR decision ruled out a Kiwi equaliser and the New Zealanders also ended the game down to 10 men following the sending off of Kosta Barbarouses.

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“If I’m being honest. I thought some of the officiating was absolutely atrocious,” Hay said at the post-match press conference.

“The disallowed goal was two players battling for the ball. The foul could have gone to Matt Garbett to start with. Obviously VAR got involved and overturned that.”

A check for a foul by the VAR decided Garbett had wrestled Oscar Duarte to the ground in the build-up to his cross that led to Chris Wood putting the ball into the net after 39 minutes.

“I haven’t looked closely at the other one,” Hay said of a second caution for Barbarouses, who was sent off with some 20 minutes left.

“Our analyst, who was watching in the stands, wasn’t convinced, but we could be proven wrong.”

Hay says he was stunned by the appointment of Mohammed Abdulla of the United Arab Emirates to handle the one-off game.

“When we looked at what Australia got against Peru last night with good quality European officiating, I thought FIFA made a mistake in such an important game for us,” he added.

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