Thursday April 12 2018
Borderline at the Bernabeu

That last-gasp penalty for Real Madrid proved interpretation goes more along party lines than ever. Susy Campanale understands both sides

Italian football earned back some pride in Europe this week with Roma’s magnificent comeback and Juventus were about to repeat it 24 hours later. Leading 3-0, they certainly deserved to go to extra time and it was heart-breaking to see it all end on a debatable spot-kick 30 seconds from the final whistle. Unfortunately, what followed is tarnishing the memories of this performance.

You can’t help but feel for Gigi Buffon in what may well be the final Champions League match of his career, getting a red card for protesting a debatable spot-kick. He’ll probably readjust his views in the morning, when the red mist has passed, and recognise his comments about referee Michael Oliver were over the top.

I do find it utterly ridiculous for some to compare this with Zinedine Zidane’s last career contribution, a red card in the World Cup Final for France. Saying the referee should be in the stands eating crisps is really not the same as head-butting an opponent in the chest. I get the feeling quite a lot of that rage was held over from Italy’s World Cup exit to Sweden and, like any repressed feelings, exploded in an uncontrolled fashion.

What we’re seeing is the way people use borderline incidents to fuel their existing narrative. Was this a stonewall penalty? No, from one angle it looks as if Medhi Benatia clearly gets the ball and knocks it on to Lucas Vazquez’s chest. From another, it seems as if he goes through the Real Madrid player to reach it. Was it a scandalous decision to award the penalty? No, at first glance I certainly thought it was a foul.

Juventus President Andrea Agnelli called for VAR to be introduced in the Champions League, but considering the way fans, pundits and even former referees have described the incident, there would still be no clear-cut interpretation everyone could agree on even with a thousand replays.

The reaction has been along party lines, as more or less everything seems to be in this polarising age we live in. You’re either with us or against us, that’s how people want it. Nuance goes out the window and interpretation travels along existing narratives, whether it’s sport, music or politics. You are not allowed to go against your tribe.

You can’t say that was a clear-cut penalty and anyone who says otherwise is in the pocket of Big Juve, buying into the media conspiracy that favoured the Bianconeri for over 100 years. Equally, it’s wrong to suggest those who thought it was a foul are ‘haters’ just trying to tear down the most successful Italian club.

There is tremendous irony in the way both sides of the debate have reacted, mainly in the way they accuse each other of irony without realising their own shortcomings. Other Serie A supporters laugh at Juventus for implying the referees have damaged Italian clubs in Europe and expressed fury at a debatable decision. They fail to notice this is precisely how they behave and would’ve done in the exact same situation.

Juve fans complain that “losers seek excuses” when a dubious Serie A decision goes against them, yet are replicating that response right now to a perceived wrong. Real Madrid, and before them Barcelona, are the Juventus of Europe, the club all others assume are on the end of favourable treatment because they are more powerful. If you carry prestige and power, you’ll get the benefit of the doubt most times. That’s not bribery, it’s just human nature.

It hurts to mount a comeback like that and see it disappear 30 seconds from extra time. It’s understandable to be upset and to say this wonderful tie should not have ended that way. It’s not a robbery, nor is it just desserts. It’s just football.

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Have your say...
according to AS's resident referee, Eduardo Iturralde, it was the wrong decision. "The contact from behind wasn't enough," Iturralde said, "he shouldn't have blown for a penalty".
on the 15th April, 2018 at 3:42am
There was clearly something fishy going on in the 2 matches, not surprising given the COLLUSION between UEFA, Kollina and Real Madrid!

The ref's wife tweeted after the game:

"having a great time in Madrid, well looked after"

on the 15th April, 2018 at 12:35am
Uefa Madrid! Enough said really.
They were never going to allow two Spanish teams to go out to Italian teams like that! Funny thing is Italian teams get ridiculed for diving, time wasting and everything yet both the Spanish outfits were worse than I have ever seen any team before. Ronaldo is unreal he spent the game on the floor!
Think that ref is a spurs fan that's why it ended the way it did!
For Italian football I hope Roma smash. They need a performance like that against Liverpool.
on the 14th April, 2018 at 8:02pm
Hey Juve fans stop the whining. The referee got it spot on. Instead of focusing on the referee you should focus on Higuain whom the team paid a hefty release clause forand who couldn't put the ball in the net with the goal keeper down. He kicked the ball right at the goal keeper instead of over with no pressure around him. Is this why he gets the big bucks?
on the 14th April, 2018 at 2:22pm
>>> and saw Benatia foot fly round him.anyone who plays weekly indoor/outdoor wouldn’t even flinched. but in professional league the play is to sell it for a pk. I can understand in the instant why ref might call it. Seen way worse fouls / no pk given. Some refs with more understanding would of let it go. Seems had it been on other end it DEFINITELY WOULDNT of been called. the red on Gigi was very harsh. Fifa needs clarity on rule,what’s a pk,foul in box. It’s too open to opinions. It hurts game
on the 14th April, 2018 at 1:06pm
Well it was the worst Deux Machina ending to an otherwise amazing entertaining game. For Madrid fans they couldn’t ask for a better gift. Anyone else,even neutrals could only ask WHY? no doubt Juve had momentum heading into extra time. with 2 subs in pocket,Allegri was planning his move for next 30 mins. But the foul was 65/35 in my eyes. It looked very soft when u watch it in replays slo-mo. Believe me Vesquez never had control of ball,or real scoring chance and when down moment he felt >>>
on the 14th April, 2018 at 12:37pm
Why Buffon didn't go to complain against the referee who called a 95th minute penalty against AC Milan. Against Benevento, two soft penalties were awarded to Juventus, yet nobody complained. It's good that Juventus tasted the same cup!
on the 14th April, 2018 at 12:02am
pigbofun should get lifetime ban for muntari's goal
on the 13th April, 2018 at 4:36pm
Oh, come on!

Get back to your daily chores you envious ratbag lot!


We woz robbed!

on the 13th April, 2018 at 12:09pm
One should question the referee but never argue over a decision. Yet, you know something's terribly wrong when a decent role model and leader like Buffon loses his cool. As always he was inspirational in this match and made many decisive saves which kept Real Madrid scoreless. He was playing possessed, fighting for his CL survival like his life depended on it. Giving a flimsy penalty in injury time sent Buffon over the edge. Such is life and such is football.
on the 13th April, 2018 at 11:30am
What most ppl dont seem to understand is that buffon got angry because the kid clearly did not realize how important that game was and who the teams on the pitch were. This aint your sunday school game its madrid vs juventus and possibly a sporting icons last match. a ref should not decide a game in the 93RD Min like that!!Real should not need a call like that if they are as good as they seem.Having said that, Max should have also used his subs. One of madrids subs caused the goal.
on the 13th April, 2018 at 1:57am
The truth is, NO man you just dont end a game like that. Not in the 93rd min and dont give buffon a red card for something he never got a red card for in his entire footballing career. I blame allegri somewhat, but it really came down to that one call. For all you trolls just waiting to troll oh shut the hell up!! I have heard it all before but mostly in the past 7 yrs lol juve fans see calls go against us all the time and we bottle it up and move on. I suggest you lot of trolling ladies move on
on the 13th April, 2018 at 1:47am
I kind of understand where most of you are coming from. But the truth is there were bad calls in the first game also. Quadrado should have been given his penalty all the same. A ref needs to look at both games and take things into consideration. He is only 33 yrs old though and by no means should have been allowed to ref that game.If you are not sure about a call you leave it. There is no way he could have known if benatia got the ball or not from where he was.
on the 13th April, 2018 at 1:34am
Stupid play by Benatia you come around the back of a player to get the ball your most likely going to get a foul called against you. It makes no difference at what time a foul happens in a game the referees job is to make those calls not considering emotions and the players involved on the pitch so it shouldn't make a difference if it's a legends last game he is responsible for making those calls at whatever time they happen it's easy to say your team was robbed when it's YOUR team
on the 13th April, 2018 at 12:38am
(1) The pk call was correct. Stupid play by Benatia but he was playing that line all game long being overly aggressive.

(2) The irony of all the complaints and whining by Juve about ref decisions. Not sure if they're serious.
on the 12th April, 2018 at 6:07pm
Talking about a match, Real Madrid - Juventus 2018, the focus must be on THAT MATCH, at least the very same night of the encounter........

Comparing it to the Coppa del Nonno of 100 years ago, or venting pent-up envy by every other frustrated, repressed fan of teams who lose very often, it's not here, nor there.

Losers alike should not apply to stick the knife in.

Nor should we start talking about "ER GO' DE TURONE" once again, nor should we mention il caffe' macchiato of Helenio Herrera.
on the 12th April, 2018 at 5:15pm
I expected it. Tho its fair to say d referee has a call in this but the big culprits is Uefa. we all know its football mixed with politics and business and Uefa wanted Madrid to be in the final because of the financial gains. they cant afford to let madrid lose since barcelona has lost out..
anyways kudos to Juventus...we all saw what we saw!Forza italia
on the 12th April, 2018 at 4:21pm
But Susy the fact is.. In knockout competitions refereeing errors have so much more influence than a wrong decision in one league game in a 38 game season...
on the 12th April, 2018 at 2:17pm
Susy is finally happy. This is all that matters.
on the 12th April, 2018 at 1:27pm
In reference to the title, Juventus and their Borderline Personality Disorder! Refs and VAR haha!
on the 12th April, 2018 at 1:11pm
as a juve fan this pains me. I expected it because this is what happens when you play madrid and barca . when you play them you have to beat them soundly. it means juve has to assemble a side that can do that. it means juve have to address their midfield and aging defence
on the 12th April, 2018 at 12:09pm
To Rez

Fraud and conspiracy, buying refeeris and you have a stomac to talk balance. CL is not Seria A where Moggi can buy games and penaltys and Agnelli rule maffia.Really enough just to look at last game ag Benevento...discrace of a team with history of a fraud. You have nothing to say. Karma ! SERIE B!
on the 12th April, 2018 at 11:41am
Susy what are trying say? What do you mean by: Juve fans complain that “losers seek excuses” when a dubious Serie A decision goes against them, yet are replicating that response right now to a perceived wrong. Leagues and cups are different. Are taking the your anti-juve hatred to europe? Anyway, we got knocked out by the ref and NOT madrid. This team here to stay whether you like it or not. We're coming back stronger next season and surely one day we'll lift this cup when luck smile at us.
on the 12th April, 2018 at 11:17am
a difference but not to this extent. ZZ has got to be the luckiest manager ever as its definitely not his tactics that has got RM all those trophies. Dybala and Neymar only playing 1 leg against his side. Psg n Juve moaning that they were not awarded penalties but got them awarded against their sides.
on the 12th April, 2018 at 10:24am
@ Interello. Good point there.

True Juventus last night were robbed to say the least and I'm angered and disappointed as a Serie A fan. However, I also liked it very much since many Juventus supporters will have the slight understanding how I felt in 97/98 when Ronaldo (the real one) was denied a historic and stonewall penalty. So, it is my understanding that what happened last night was, nature's response and call for Jubentus fans to stop the hypocrisy and move on.
on the 12th April, 2018 at 10:18am
Watching that incident I was outraged. 1St that Vasquez was poncing about instead of finishing a clear cut opportunity; 2nd that a pen was given as I didnt think it was, still don't & 3rd that Buffon was sent off. I also didn't think Isco was offside when he scored his goal. Awful refereeing decisions have been made in City's 3 games against Liverpool & United so its not just for RM. As someone said here Juve stopped playing like they had once they made it 3-0. I did think Ramos' absence would
on the 12th April, 2018 at 10:15am
VAR cannot come quickly enough. When it does it wouldn't surprise me if Real go 25 years plus without winning this trophy. Can anyone remember a time when the referee wasn't decisive in them winning in this cup? Juve this year, Bayern last year, Atletico before that etc etc
on the 12th April, 2018 at 9:56am
What a week for Italian football.It could have been,should have been one of the greatest ever.Two impossible comebacks in two days.It wasn't meeant to be.
on the 12th April, 2018 at 9:56am
I was waiting for that last minute pen that was always going to come.It's Real,it's at home,they are going to get a pen.

As for Buffons sending off,can't imagine what he said was so bad.He's not the type.The ref has to take into account it's Buffon,he's a legend,he's 40,if he sends him off it will probably be his last CL game.He has to consider all this and that he cannot end the CL career of a legend like that.Be human.However he proved to be a lowlife.
on the 12th April, 2018 at 9:55am
That tie was lost last week. If you need to place blame that’s where it lies.
on the 12th April, 2018 at 9:51am

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