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...
ROMA has been robbed by referee several times, and it really cost ROMA all the points they deserved but there are no article about it.
ROMA should've been in 2nd or 3rd position now or even 1st.
Napoli, it's just this simple one and you made it so big.
There is something wrong with referee in serie-A.. ROMA, NAPOLI are recent victims of it. Obviously someone or a club (if you know what i'm talking about) is trying to bring ROMA down.
Last night, a silly red card for fazio. Another calciopoli?
on the 31st October, 2019 at 7:59am
Gasperini got away with 1 tonight as a lot of his decisions were asinine not to mention his inane assertion that this was harder than facing City. Not sure why Muriel didn't start but his side were doing well until he decides to bring on Kjaer so early o in the 2ND HALF and then a wing back for an attacking mf. 3 at the back could not spot Milik's run while Kjaer could have given away a penalty. Napoli weren't great but Gasperini almost gifted them victory by making his side so disjointed.
on the 31st October, 2019 at 1:45am
Pen given.
Serie A- 49
Premiere league-26
La Liga-38
Ligue 1-34

I think it's safe to say Serie A refs are whistle happy. With ridiculous penalties such as Ronaldo v Genoa and Ciro v Atalanta given on a weekly basis, is it any wonder. Just embarrassing. If you watch a Champions League game with an Italian ref you can almost guarantee they will call a penalty in the game. Goals are to important in football and "soft penalties" are ruining this game.
on the 31st October, 2019 at 1:41am
Napoli have regressed under Ancelotti. I didn't see that one coming.
on the 30th October, 2019 at 11:56pm
The quality of refereeing is the problem - no-one talks about contentious decisions in rugby because there aren't any. The refs are world class and VAR is used properly. I cannot for the life of me understand why football can't get it right.
on the 30th October, 2019 at 11:42pm
It was clear as day. Kjaer had no interest in the ball, he turned his back to ball and rugby-tackled the opponent.

Napoli were robbed blind. Madness.
on the 30th October, 2019 at 11:10pm
Ancelotti out
on the 30th October, 2019 at 10:44pm

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