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Monday February 24 2014
Holy della Mole!

A flash of genius, puzzling tactics and a dash of refereeing controversy made for an intriguing Turin derby. Giancarlo Rinaldi examines events in the Juventus Stadium and elsewhere in Serie A.

This time there was no need to take to Twitter to show off his post-match injuries. Carlitos Tevez did his talking on the pitch in the Turin derby with a strike worthy of winning any match. In the process, he joined Giuseppe Rossi at the top of the goalscoring charts while cementing Juve’s seat at the head of the Serie A table.

Yet this Derby della Mole was a curious game in many aspects. The Bianconeri had a couple of scares early on before turning up the temperature to really start grilling the Granata. It served up one searing strike from their South American hitman and an emphatic victory seemed to be the only possible outcome on the menu.

But the second half dished up radically different fare. After 15 minutes of bland produce from both sides, Toro suddenly decided to take a gamble and throw all their spicy attacking options into the pot. It was almost too tasty for the home team to handle.

Two decisions from referee Nicola Rizzoli left a particularly bitter taste for Granata fans. The first was not to book Arturo Vidal for a handball offence when he had already received a yellow card. The second was to caution Omar El Kaddouri for a dive in the penalty box when replays showed contact with Andrea Pirlo. Boss Giampiero Ventura faced his post-match interviews with a mixture of pride and regret.

“We couldn’t have forced the play like we did in the last half hour for the whole game,” he insisted. “But it’s rare to see Juventus in such difficulty in the Juventus Stadium. After the first 15 minutes of the second half, they didn’t manage a shot on goal. If Rizzoli had seen the penalty, maybe we would have had an even better result.”

“From the replays, you can see he touched me,” added a disappointed El Kaddouri. “I think it was a clear penalty.”

Antonio Conte, shown the incident, had a slightly different view. “Anything could have happened,” he claimed. “He could have booked El Kaddouri or he could have given the penalty.” And, in fairness, the attacking-midfielder’s fall did seem to have some time delay after the initial contact. That won’t, of course, be any consolation for Toro fans who had reason for recrimination at the final whistle.

“These are tough games,” admitted Coach Conte. “Torino had nothing to lose - they are already safe and, along with Verona, they are the real revelations of the season. We tried to give them little chance to break. With Alessio Cerci, Ciro Immobile and El Kaddouri, they can hurt anyone.”

The end result was a response to Roma who had enjoyed a 1-0 win of their own against Bologna on Saturday night with Radja Nainggolan getting his first goal for the Giallorossi. It was not the finest performance Rudi Garcia’s side has ever produced but it was further proof of their growing maturity. With Napoli and Fiorentina to play on Monday evening, it made the capital club’s second place look all the more comfortable.

Those delayed matches should have allowed Inter to turn up the heat on the Viola and Partenopei but they failed in their mission to string three wins in a row together. Instead, they were held to a draw by visiting Cagliari in a game which singularly failed to stir the blood. It seems to be two steps forward and one backwards for the Nerazzurri at the moment, even if their boss Walter Mazzarri felt they deserved a penalty for a foul on Mauro Icardi.

“It was such a clear foul how can I not mention it? It’s incredible,” he stated. This was a distinct U-turn from a manager who just last week said he would no longer comment on refereeing errors after his own team got the benefit of one against Fiorentina. But veteran Serie A watchers know that the only thing consistent about this Division is its inconsistency.

Frustration among black-and-blue supporters will only have been exacerbated by their red-and-black cousins getting another win, this time against Sampdoria. Adel Taarabt confirmed his quick adjustment to the Italian game with the opening goal for Milan. Another new boy, Adil Rami, added a second although this one put fire in the belly of the home support. Most Doriani thought Giampaolo Pazzini had fouled goalkeeper Angelo da Costa in the build-up to the goal. Neutrals, however, would accept that the Rossoneri were probably worth their win overall.

Verona continued their impressive season with a madcap 3-2 triumph away to Livorno. Bosko Jankovic, Romulo and Luca Toni had them three clear by half-time and they had numerous opportunities to extend their lead before Paulinho and Leandro Greco made them sweat. Nonetheless, Andrea Mandorlini’s side held firm to take another step towards the Europa League.

With Udinese and Atalanta sharing a point each which shuffled them a little closer to safety, the biggest movers in the lower reaches were Chievo who hit a couple of goals past hapless Catania to leapfrog their opponents out of the drop zone. However, a definite gap has developed between the bottom five and the rest of the League with Cagliari hovering somewhere in between. Atalanta, Samp and Udinese could yet get dragged back in there, but it looks unlikely right now.

Sunday night saw Lazio put another nail into Sassuolo’s coffin but there were jeers for the Biancocelesti at the final whistle from their own fans. Stefan Radu hit the pick of the goals in their 3-2 triumph but large sections of the Roman club’s support seem to be up in arms at the running of the club by President Claudio Lotito and his cohorts. They are angry at what they perceive as a lack of investment in their team and have started a campaign for regime change. And where is it running? Why on Twitter, of course.

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Have your say...
The problem is anti-Juve people are like that 50-year-old guy who's stuck in the 80's -- they don't know the world has moved on and they're dancing alone under a disco light looking like fools.
on the 24th February, 2014 at 5:26pm
@ Interista you're just another delusional Inter fan. Your team does nothing whatsoever for Italian football except complain. The reason why I raise the issue of Inter's lack of Italians is precisely because it shows they give nothing to the Azzuri and by extension Serie A. The two are inter-linked. The only scandal I can see is that Inter continually flounce the rules relating to non-EU players. Where do they get so many European passports?
on the 24th February, 2014 at 5:18pm
@Maldini's hair, this is club football, not international football. And if you're talking about contributing to the Italian NT, who exactly is Milan contributing? Abate, Bonera, and Abbiati? LOL. As for Rubentus, no they don't deserve their current position. If you were to account for referee "errors", Roma would be about 6 points ahead of them, and Milan would have a few points less.
on the 24th February, 2014 at 4:57pm
Those Inter fans never stop complaining do they? Inter fans do you really not think that Juve deserve to be top at this moment in time? Roma are doing really well and I really hope that Juve hit a slump (starting next week) and Roma win the Scudetto but it's difficult to begrudge Juve their current position. Just get over it. At least Juve, Roma and Milan will be contributing to Italy's world cup squad. Inter did not have a single Italian on the pitch. In fact you barely had a European!!
on the 24th February, 2014 at 4:23pm
Another shocking penalty decision goes against us, surprise surprise, but we cant let that disguise another bad performance. Now that Vidic is in the bag our number one transfer target of the summer should be... Sinisa Mihailovic! FORZA INTER!!!
on the 24th February, 2014 at 3:35pm
So people are complaining about Vidal not getting a yellow for the ball that bounced off his leg and hit the bottom of his arm.

I don't see this people complaining that Glick didn't get a yellow with a handball in Juve's box.
on the 24th February, 2014 at 3:12pm
Nothing to see here folks, Rizzoli just doing his job and ensuring Rubentus "win" another game on their way to another Scudetto "win".


A touch is a touch, whether he embellished it or not, a touch in the penalty area is a penalty. You better believe Rizzoli would've given the penalty if it was at the other end, but of course he was under strict instructions to ensure a Rubentus win.
on the 24th February, 2014 at 2:44pm
Over the 90 minutes it is difficult to argue that Juve didn't deserve to win even with the alleged controversy over the handball and the penalty.It does concern me that Juve are not putting games to bed sooner when you consider the pressure that they place on their opponents eg;Verona and Fiorentina.We are not playing with the same intensity or humility as before.
on the 24th February, 2014 at 2:15pm
Luca Toni to the world cup please!
on the 24th February, 2014 at 2:08pm
Anyone still think Juventus are not favoured by referees? Poor Torino have been cheated in both games this season as have Verona and a few other teams. The whole club from top to bottom is corrupt!
on the 24th February, 2014 at 1:46pm
I don't think El Kaddouri was booked for diving. He was booked for dissent. Anyway, he could have been awarded a penalty, but his theatrical flop after the minimal contact surely convinced Rizzoli that it was a dive. Good things will happen if you just play football. If your only hope is to go looking for a PK and to con the ref, then you don't deserve the points. An otherwise good derby.
on the 24th February, 2014 at 12:32pm
"Milan getting another win"....Ha ha you would think they were top of the league, using a phrase like that.
on the 24th February, 2014 at 10:23am
Anyone who thinks it was penalty is just wrong. After the "touch" he takes another step in which he is then standing with his full weight on that left leg which Pirlo grazed against to which he theatrically tumbles on his own accord. A penalty? Never.
on the 24th February, 2014 at 10:14am
Good win for Milan although we must remember that Milan managed to get through these fixtures in the first half of the season. The big test is the next few weeks when we play Juve, Udinese, Fiorentina and Lazio not to mention Parma who already beat us. Rami and Zaccardo seem as good a defensive pairing as Milan have. We shouldn't forget the latter won the World Cup but also had consistent seasons with Parma and Palermo. Tarabat continues to do well. Perhaps the Championship is beneath him!
on the 24th February, 2014 at 10:09am
as usual, when juve got incidents.. you write it as controversy. When inter got similar decision last week, you said nothing.

You are just PATHETIC, giancarlo rinaldi!!
on the 24th February, 2014 at 9:54am

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