Austria is to complain to FIFA after claiming its players were “endangered” in the World Cup qualifier with Northern Ireland.

Austrian Football Association president Friedrich Stickler said referee Athanassios Briakos “acted carelessly” by being lenient towards Northern Ireland.

N Ireland’s Damien Johnson and Austrian Emanuel Pogatetz were sent-off in the game, which Austria won 2-0.

“I cannot say everything that comes to my mind about the referee, because a lot would be below the belt,” Stickler added.

“All I can say is that I have never seen such bad refereeing before. We were lucky that not more of our players were badly injured.”

Pogatetz was on the receiving end of a violent challenge from Johnson and was dismissed for retaliation.

“That was simply scandalous. Pogatetz was about the fourth or fifth player on our team who was badly fouled,” Stickler said.

“It is not excusable that he attacked his opponent, but understandable.

“His red card was justified, but several players of the visitors should have seen it previously.

“Their game had nothing to do with fairness or the famous British physical game. It was simply unfair.”