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Wednesday October 30 2019
Refs ruin San Paolo spectacle

A wonderful game of football between Napoli and Atalanta was sadly overshadowed by yet more refereeing controversy, leaving Giancarlo Rinaldi to chew over the disappointment.

If anyone thought technology was going to cut away the controversy from Italian football, they were sorely mistaken. On a night that should have been about two of the brightest realities of Serie A, we ended up with our painfully-familiar query. To VAR or not to VAR?

It was not meant to end this way. On Diego Maradona’s birthday and in front of Marek Hamsik, everything looked set for Napoli to put their upstart opponents in their place. Arek Milik even channeled his inner Pibe de Oro to round the goalkeeper and finish in a fair imitation of the club’s most famous No 10. But then the video did - or rather didn’t - enter into play.

The infuriating thing is that it overshadowed a lovely game of football and a cracking equaliser from Josip Ilicic. Looking at replays, the move started with a tussle between Simon Kjaer and Fernando Llorente, which the home side felt was a foul. Even Carlo Ancelotti, normally an apostle of aplomb, lost his cool. Despite sustained appeals, the referee did not go back to look again at the lead-up to the goal.

It had echoes of the fiery finish to Fiorentina versus Lazio just a few days ago, when the Viola felt their opponents’ winner ought to have been reviewed on screen - but it was not. Mind you, nor was a pretty loud penalty claim from their visitors either. The rules and regulations may have been explained to everyone but, it would appear, either not everyone has understood them or believes they are being followed.

Of course, we all know that while the technology is brilliant for finding out whether a ball crossed the line or a man was offside, it is not capable of deciding what a clear and obvious error might be. That part still lies with a human and they are, unfortunately, all too fallible. This drives fans, players and Coaches to distraction on occasion. It produced the kind of heated conclusion at the San Paolo that we hoped might be a thing of the past.

What is irritating in the extreme is that this clash to decide who had the right to hang on to Inter and Juve’s coattails had been a thing of beauty up to that point. Some of the interplay between Napoli pair Lorenzo Insigne and Jose Callejon, plus Atalanta duo Papu Gomez and Ilicic, had been a joy to watch. And as for Fabian Ruiz, he just added another £10m or so to his ever-escalating market value.

Maybe, when the dust settles, we will say that a draw was a fair result between two great teams to watch. It is hard to think, however, that many fans of the Partenopei will see it that way. And the problem will be in a few hours or days or weeks when a similar situation arises and a goal is ruled out by VAR for a foul at the move’s inception. To err is human, for sure, but to forgive is probably beyond most of us football fans.

Have your say...
I repeat what I have been saying for at least 7 years, Insigne is imposed by the Camorra on Napoli, helped by the media who know how bad he is, they lobby for him to play with Napoli no matter what, but lobby against him when he plays for Italy, because they know he is a huge liability. Insigne bring disharmony to the team, because he is untouchable, which demotivate all his team mates.
Only in Italy mediocrity is rewarded, and imposed.
Napoli will never win anything as long as he is there.
on the 7th November, 2019 at 6:26am
Figc needs to return to foreign born player amounts of yesteryear.
on the 3rd November, 2019 at 5:44pm
Where are all the honorable journalist that instead of writing how good inter or juv are instead writing about the pervasive corruption in officiating that persist to this day even with VAR. I mean they write how great Ronaldo deligt lukaku when they are actually amateurs I mean are u serious. No wonder Italian team suck in CL they are sub par and with all this favoritism they forgot how to win with grit and hard work. Besides these foreign players destroying the Italian system.
on the 3rd November, 2019 at 5:43pm
Well looks like the refs ruined the bologna vs inter spectacle also
on the 2nd November, 2019 at 8:10pm
After watching Bologna - Inter We all need to take a minute, and laugh at all the Inter fans in this blog
on the 2nd November, 2019 at 7:56pm
Roses are red violets are blue, nicist is a weirdo and also a fool.
on the 2nd November, 2019 at 12:53am
2011:Palazzi said: "Inter violated the article relative to sporting fraud with regards to the possibility of taking advantages in the standings."

The FIGC handed Palazzi the responsibility of pouring over all the evidence from the Calciopoli II trial in Naples a year ago, during which it was revealed that former Inter directors had had contact with referees and a number of other high-profile Italian football leaders between 2004 and 2006.
on the 1st November, 2019 at 10:03pm
Roses are red, violets are blue, Juventus went to serie B, we know that is true.
on the 1st November, 2019 at 7:48pm
Shut your lousy mouth inter fans. It's crystal clear referee was inter's 12th player against Juve in San Siro packed with losers who eventually got humiliated by Juve's solid display. We Juve fans vividly sense FIGC want Juve down this season with series of laughable decision against Juve from the referees. But hey! Juve are too strong so bear with it and stop crying losers.
on the 1st November, 2019 at 1:26pm
Juve fans remember one thing all other may complain but as great as you are no Champions League since 1996 and possibly never. Because deep down u really dont undestand any other way to play but with referee aid. Adding ronaldo wont help he is used to aid that he got in la liga and stole 2 out of 3 champions League titles.
on the 1st November, 2019 at 12:45pm
Juve fans remember one thing all other may complain but as great as you are no Champions League since 1996 and possibly never. Because deep down u really dont undestand any other way to play but with referee aid. Adding ronaldo wont help he is used to aid that he got in la liga and stole 2 out of 3 champions League titles.
on the 1st November, 2019 at 12:45pm
Juventus led the second by 20 points is because of referee?It’s because the second is coached by a pig.
Which game is the most disgusting one in the last decade? Lazio vs Inter and everyone knows why. it’s a pity that Lotito only realized that recently. No surprise that Inter are full of Judas, Figo, De Vrij and Conte...
All Roma’s worst referee matches are against Inter.
How about this season’s match between Inter and Juventus? The referee was Inter’s 12th player.
on the 1st November, 2019 at 10:35am
Losers always whinge. Ronaldo’s penalty is soft but still fairer than some others. How about Brozovic’s foul on Bentancur? That’s crystal clear and clearer than Llorente’s. No need to mention Lukaku’s handball without freekick and at least three more deserved yellow cards to Inter players if the referee used the same standard to both team.Why there is no noise after the match? Because Juventus beat Inter convincingly even Inter got huge advantage from the referee.
Pig can’t coach, period
on the 1st November, 2019 at 10:24am
Italian football is corrupt, no doubt about that. Juventus has clearly been favored by referees and the FA the last ten years, some Calciopoli compensation?

Juve gets non existent penalties while their closest opponent gets the opposite treatment. First it was Roma now it is Napoli.

To be fair. When Roma, Napoli, Milan and Inter are playing league minors, they get the referee favour, but the end result has to be the same: Juve as champs.
on the 1st November, 2019 at 10:12am
V- Very
A- Awful
R- Referee

Napoli should get a penalty.
Ronaldo fell by kicking his own foot. Penalty!!!
Am I watching Serie A?
on the 1st November, 2019 at 4:38am
The actual ruling is that the Atalanta player was elbowed and fouled before he made contact with the Napoli player. I don't think that decision will satisfy Napoli supporters. It might make up for the bad call Atalanta got against Lazio. VAR was never going to be perfect. It shift arguments from the ball hit his face not his hand eg. Roma in Europa league to whatever people are arguing about now.
on the 31st October, 2019 at 10:25pm
Whine some more losers lol nobody cares. on to scudetto #NINE
on the 31st October, 2019 at 10:14pm
Napoli didn't get a clear penalty, Juventus get a non-existing penalty. Serie A is still very much corrupt.
on the 31st October, 2019 at 6:31pm
@John Smith he literally body checked him ,clear pen and Atalanta tie it up directly after the incident , maybe stick to commenting "new modern 50'000 seat stadium" every other blog post
on the 31st October, 2019 at 5:38pm
The journalist make Ronaldo a hero with a penalty spot kick that he embellished,they should be writing of the defacto corruption that is pervasive in soccer and Italy as a whole. Starting with the politicians so you can summise that the fish stinks from the head. It is similar in America where big money teams get away with it. It leads to an epidemic that is why it get frustrating for lesser financial capable teams that can perform better then the more expensive franchise.
on the 31st October, 2019 at 5:33pm
I cannot understand how blind the journalist are to this corruption, forget the peopl and juve fans they belive they are great and Ronaldo is great when he is overrated and worthless. They will never win a champions league as when you are gifted year in and out you dont know how to win the hard way. Regardles of that everyone missed the second foul at the end where the defender blocked the ball with his hand heading got llorentes head.
on the 31st October, 2019 at 5:29pm
@ Blackandblue
Alexis was a blatant stupid dive that served no purpose. 2 goals up before half time on a yellow it was pointless. It was the reason Conte got to complain he had no quality to bring off the bench in the loss to Juve. If Ronaldo wasn't awarded then pen I wouldn't have complained but at least he drew some contact to consider, unlike Alexis. Alot of Inter fans can only play the persecuted fan. At least admit sometimes your players do wrong things and you get the benefit of refs
on the 31st October, 2019 at 4:00pm
Refs and VAR are a mess all over Europe. Refs call the same incident different ways. The new hand ball law hasn't cleared anything up. Indignation falls on the side you support. Napoli should have got the penalty but they got the benefits of ref in the very 1st game of the season. Ronaldo was 50-50, he did as much to win it as he was fouled. Juve have missed out on pens that have looked worse. The 4th goal in Liverpool Arsenal was pen that looked like less contact than that Ronaldo suffered.
on the 31st October, 2019 at 3:36pm
No mention in this article that this is the same referee that oversaw Lazio-Torino in 2017 which generated so much controversy for some diabolical decisions. Since then he has not refereed Lazio once, clearly as a result of this match. He is a crook, he is a Roma fan, having had a facebook page of him and Totti after having awarded a very dubious penalty to Roma at the end of the 2016/17 season against Genoa.
on the 31st October, 2019 at 3:20pm
@ The Grand Old Lady ...

Coming from a Juventus fan. Of course you say that.
on the 31st October, 2019 at 2:18pm
Ronaldo dives on the last seconds rewarded with the a penalty and a winning goal vs Alexis goes down with clear contact at the beginning of second half with Inter dominating and winning by 2 -0 and he doesn’t claim for a penalty but gets a red plus a fine.
on the 31st October, 2019 at 2:13pm
What sour grapes. This was never a penalty. A bitter journalist going bananas.
on the 31st October, 2019 at 12:29pm
Not just that incident but the Callejon incident too. He was clearly in the penalty area when he was hit in the head. Absolutely scandalous and they say there is no corruption! All he had to do was use VAR which is why it is there.
on the 31st October, 2019 at 10:19am
Ben, I understand your point, refs in Rugby generate less controversy. However, they only appear better because they are given respect. They do make mistakes (all the time) but their decision is final - like it or not. Soccer as much as I love it, has very little respect. Players, managers and fans are always looking for excuses for failure. Ancelotti needs to improve his team, they have regressed under his mentorship. They have the talent, stop looking for excuses and get better
on the 31st October, 2019 at 10:17am
Kjaer used to be pitch bandit for both Valencia and Danmark.
on the 31st October, 2019 at 9:18am

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