Sassuolo Coach Roberto De Zerbi was furious after Lazio received a controversial penalty. “The VAR knew it was wrong, this was all the referee’s doing.”
The Biancocelesti had taken the lead in an eventual 2-2 draw when Patric’s cross was charged down by Manuel Locatelli, but although replays showed that the ball bounced off his hip and on to his arm, the referee stood by his original decision.
“I wouldn’t like people to think that we’re out of the fight to avoid relegation, so we can be penalised more than teams who are still chasing their objective,” De Zerbi told Sky Sport Italia.
“Something very serious happened today, because the guidelines say that if the ball ricochets off another part of the body and then touches the arm, it is not handball or a penalty. This was a clear error.
“This isn’t an issue of VAR. The use of VAR is improving the whole Italian football system and eliminating errors. Today the VAR official knew it was wrong, which is why he told the referee to go and look at it again. This was all the referee’s doing.
“The ball hit his leg first and then the arm, so it is not handball. The rule is clear.”
It is not the first time referee Abisso has been involved in this sort of controversy, because only a few weeks ago he awarded an extremely controversial stoppage-time penalty in Fiorentina’s 3-3 draw with Inter.
That too was a ‘handball’ given despite the ball striking the player’s chest first and he again stood by his decision even after being told to look at the footage again.
“I kept Domenico Berardi out initially because he had a muscular issue, but he changed the game when he came on and is too important for Sassuolo. We showed character today and had a great second half performance,”