Former Australian international Robbie Slater said the decision to send off Adelaide United's Cristiano on Saturday night was disgraceful.
Cristiano was sent off in just the 10th minute of the A-League grand final against Melbourne Victory for an aerial clash with Rodrigo Vargas that caused the Victory defender to bleed but was in no way malicious.
Later in the match, Victory forward Danny Allsopp was also controversially sent off and Slater has said both decision were poor.
"In a grand final you have to be 100 per cent sure of your decision-making," Slater said.
"There was no swinging elbow by Cristiano. They both used their arms for protection when they challenged for the ball. It was a complete accident.
"Breeze (referee Matthew Breeze) was 10m away and he was initially going to pull out a yellow card until he consulted (assistant referee) Matthew Cream. The he issued the red.
"Did the blood come from Roddy's (Vargas) ear sway it? I thought it was a disgraceful decision and the grand final was ruined."
In regards to the Allsopp incident, Slater said, "There are no images to suggest any headbutt (by Allsopp).
"Allsopp is walking and pushed his head towards him (Robert Cornthwaite). It was like handbags at 10 paces."