Monday September 30 2013
A poisoned Turin derby

It is never great news for football when the post-match spats are more dramatic than anything on the field of play. But, as Giancarlo Rinaldi reports, the standout fixture of Week 6 – the Turin derby – produced more quality quotes than sumptuous skill.

Stop me when you have heard this one before. A hard-fought match between one of Italian football’s giants and one of its lesser lights is decided by a controversial decision by the match officials and – guess what? – it went the way of the bigger side. So far, so very familiar.

This Sunday, just like midweek, it was Juventus who enjoyed the luck of the break. Against Chievo it appeared that only a match official mistaking Alberto Paloschi for Cyril Thereau could explain why the former’s goal was chalked off. This weekend, it took Carlitos Tevez to don a cloak of invisibility to allow the only strike of a pretty tepid Turin derby – from Paul Pogba – to stand. The Argentine was in an offside position during his part in the build-up to the match-winning moment.

That put Antonio Conte back into his “sometimes these decisions go for you, sometimes they go against you” mode. The trouble is, of course, that two such apparent errors in close proximity to one another do tend to stick in the mind. Without them, perhaps, La Vecchia Signora could find herself four points further back in the Scudetto fight.

But there are a few flaws in that logic too. The most notable, of course, is that nobody can know for sure how the outcome of a match might have changed if a goal decision was reversed. It is also clear that we have to analyse every controversial moment – not just those which resulted in a goal – if we are going to go down that route. Indeed, the Juve boss himself chose to do exactly that by suggesting Toro might well have found themselves with 10 men for most of the match had Ciro Immobile seen red for a nasty challenge on Tevez.

That prompted the Granata to hit back with a statement on the club website highlighting, among other things, another tackle by Pogba which might also have deserved a sending off in their view. They also contested Conte’s version of events which had Juve on the attack for most of the match when possession statistics were almost identical. “The truth is that Juventus won the derby 1-0 and that goal was down to a very clear offside,” concluded the statement. “Everything else is just pointless talk.”

Once the hot air has cooled down, however, we come back to the same issue afflicting Italian football week-in, week-out. Everybody has their favourite bogey-man when it comes to which team gets most ‘favours’ from match officials. It is hard, at times, not to go down that cynical route – particularly with the history of such things in Calcio. But, on the other hand, we would do well to remember that Serie A is not the only League where controversial decisions often go the way of the bigger teams. If you want to believe it is all a conspiracy, you are perfectly entitled to do so, of course. But it doesn’t half take away a lot of the fun from watching the weekend’s games if you do.

The ultimate outcome of that typically spiky Derby della Mole, was to leave the Bianconeri right in the Scudetto hunt. Napoli had set the early running with their 2-0 win over Genoa on Saturday thanks to a Goran Pandev double. In the process, they killed off the Serie A coaching career of the likeable but seemingly out-of-his-depth Fabio Liverani.  You might well ask yourself what President Enrico Preziosi was doing when he appointed such an inexperienced individual in the first place. Although an even better question would be why, when he did so, did he give him only six games to prove his worth? The man once touted as the Sir Alex Ferguson of the Grifone, Gian Piero Gasperini, takes over the hotseat. Good luck with that one, Gasperson.

Sunday’s night game, however, saw Roma sweep by both Juve and Napoli and back to the top with a perfect six out of six. It was a bit of a breeze against Bologna as the Giallorossi struck three first half goals – their first of the whole season – on their way to a comfortable  5-0 win. Arsenal fans might well be surprised to hear of a Gervinho double in the goal glut amid the thunder storms at the Stadio Olimpico.

Elsewhere, Inter were held up in their meteoric recovery by a stout Cagliari side in a rain-soaked Trieste. Walter Mazzarri reckoned his team played just about as well as in their seven-goal sinking of Sassuolo but ran into a great goalkeeper and were a little more sloppy in their finishing. The miracle he is trying to work with the Nerazzurri, however, was never likely to be constructed overnight.

The weekend’s other games saw Milan lurch to a one-goal win against Sampdoria thanks to a Valter Birsa strike. Atalanta had a German Denis double to thank for a morale-boosting victory over Udinese while Catania enjoyed similar cheer against Chievo. Verona edged the derby of the newly-promoted sides with Livorno thanks to a controversial Jorginho penalty while Sassuolo produced a surprise comeback from two goals down to snatch a draw against Lazio. All that is left is for Monday night to decide is whether Fiorentina get back on the fringes of the title fight or Parma clamber closer to mid-table safety. Whatever the outcome, don’t bet against it happening without something for somebody to grumble about afterwards.

Keep up to date with the latest news and action from Spain's Primera Division with Football Espana - from the team behind Football Italia.

Have your say...
Serie A teams are terrified to leave their own half against Juventus, because they saw what happened when Lazio tried offensive football against us. Napoli are the only team remotely capable of challenging Juventus in Italy, although their inept performance at The Emirates last night, proved they are not as good as they think they are. Juventus are doing enough to win at the moment, which is the sign of a top team. I wonder if Napoli will be able to do the same for a whole season.
on the 2nd October, 2013 at 3:06am
I wonder next week when the same situation favours Napoli or Inter, or another joke penalty goes in favour of AC Milan if there will be a blog similar to this one (I doubt it).
on the 1st October, 2013 at 10:20pm
@Dario - isn't it funny that you are on the side of the 'so called' officials and the blatantly biased courts when they find Juve 'guilty' but then you call the FIGC officials poor. Make up your mind..they are either poor or just...they can not be both..Its not Juve's fault if they have been awarded a valid goal. Look at the goal again and you'll see that the Toro defender pushed Tevez into an offside position. Brilliant refereeing and the goal is perfectly valid...Move on
on the 1st October, 2013 at 10:34am
I can't really complain about juve's performance this season because almost all the teams that played aginst us, forgot about there own way of playing. All they did was to defend. Only lazio play their game, and what happened to them? 4-0 and 4-1. How can you make a clear scoring chance when 8 to 9 players are in their box defending against you???? However, Conte most find a solution to this! Forza juve! Now bring on Gala!
on the 1st October, 2013 at 8:54am
I cant understand why there was talk of Icardi playing for Italy, he was always going to play for Argentina. Its a shame because he is a top player.
on the 1st October, 2013 at 8:18am
People need to watch the matches to make accusations. In the Chievo match, Juve had problems with the same linesman. Conte shouted at him more than once for not calling fouls etc.

So yeah, he was poor and now he is banned. Not everything is Juve's fault.

The derby is even more laughable as had Tevez would not been pushed in the way, Bonucci's header would have ended up in the net.
Marchisio's challenge was nothing. Pogba's a yellow. Immobile was a clear read as he came from behind...
on the 1st October, 2013 at 6:13am
Offside goals does happened.
And it favours d attackers.
More attack, means more chance to get this.
Try to count d shot-on-goal made in d game between torino vs juve,
And u won't get 48 vs 52.

With 30% posession, a team can still get make d most shot on goal if they play attacking football.
N with 70%, no garanty to get any shot on goal if u play defense+counter only.

Many people inssult oldschool azzurri cattenaccio.
Now, they don't hate it coz d opponent is juve.
on the 1st October, 2013 at 2:14am
1st, juve had been in serieA for too long, got lots of experience to know how things could go.
So, if d juve can cheat by using ref, will they do it so obviously like this. Twice in a row?
I don't think so.

Last season,juve complained,why d same ref who made controversy in juve game r being choosen for their big game against milan?
Now this happened.
2nd,juve want to cheat?
Or, is there any one who want to put juve in that position?

In a war, when it's so easy, u're walking into an ambush.
on the 1st October, 2013 at 1:55am
Shut your mouths all you whiners. That was an offisde position, ok reward a penalty instead !? Send Immobile off instead !? We all get accustomed to those whiners and they only raise their voice when something goes to Juve favor. Non of you came out after Torino-Milan match. And non would come out unless Juve is involved.

Keep the hating, Juve keep the winning.
on the 30th September, 2013 at 11:51pm
Offside rule, benefit of doubt goes to the attackers. Feel sorry for Chievo not Torino. Chieve was a obvious mistake Torino is understandable in a grappling messy penalty box.
on the 30th September, 2013 at 11:05pm
The reason Tevez was offside was that he was pushed and man handle. The referring wasn't perfect but they wanted to let things flow and weren't going to make big calls like red cards and penalties. Marchisio was a clip, Pogbas was worse but came in from an angle. Immobile was from behind and contact was the worst. I felt sorry for chievo but not for Torino, get a shot on target if you truly want points from a game. Calcopoli wise the only one that got away with cheating was Inter.
on the 30th September, 2013 at 10:47pm
Juve supporters condition themselves to believing that cheating is ok.
on the 30th September, 2013 at 9:10pm
Just remember football italia that ive been saying that juve have been buying points for a few years. i dont understand the logic of we dnt know what would have happened if those calls didnt go in favor of juve, but can say for a fact that chievo would have had two goals instead of 1 and torino would still have been tied. so maybe juve would have scored 2 more goals and won 3-2. but they "would" have had to do that...chievo had already scored a 2nd goal. torino a lil harder to forecast..
on the 30th September, 2013 at 9:05pm
Why would people be surprised by Rubentus getting help from the refs. The big 3 have done it for decades. Get used to it.
on the 30th September, 2013 at 8:04pm
Bla bla bla. Maybe Juve experience ten mistakes in favor of them and 8-9 against them. BUT it happens in every league to the bigger teams.
on the 30th September, 2013 at 7:58pm
Juve getting the ref on board again. Nothing new here.
on the 30th September, 2013 at 7:33pm
surprise surprise..juve again! @ mez juve were found guilty & so was conte & were proved in a court so stop this nonsense about claiming innocence for a team that has been corrupt for years. 6 points so far this that they did not deserve..a poor linesman or something else?
Statistics showed that juve had 52% of the ball so it wasnt one-sided although Torino did nothing in front of goal but that is down to the juve defence which is good and i hate to say that!
Will they win the league? Hope not
on the 30th September, 2013 at 4:52pm
After his horrendous tackle on Tevez, I believe that Immobile's chance to wear Juve shirt has decreased to almost zero.
on the 30th September, 2013 at 4:39pm
Lesser teams park the bus against Juventus, and cry foul when calls don't go their way. Along with the linesman, referee, and the commentators, I didn't see the offsides, and like Pado said, there could have been a penalty given for the mauling that Tevez took during the play in the box. Does anyone here notice that when Milan is losing, there is always 5 minutes of stoppage time given to them ?? How about the calls given to Inter ???
on the 30th September, 2013 at 4:26pm
Not even the mighty Barcelona can score only on regular goal, get 2 scored on them and walk out with 6 points in a week. How is it that one linesman sees something thats not there then another doesmt see the obvious benefitting one specific team twice in 3 days. Hmmm
on the 30th September, 2013 at 2:46pm
@me-here...Juve can not just dive in gun-ho style. They have a number of crucial games coming up and need all their players at their disposal if they are to progress in all 3 competitions. As long as they are collecting points. That's all that matters. Also, remember that Tevez and Giovinco have rarely played upfront as a couple. Plus, no Pirlo, no Vucinic. My only source of annoyance was Vidal who seemed far too casual at times.
on the 30th September, 2013 at 2:34pm
As a Juve fan I have to say that our display during our past four games has been very disappointing - it's like a rewind back to 2011 when we squeaked out 1-0 wins either by luck or thru unlucky circumstances. I also dislike how Conte and the players - unlike past seasons - now always have some kind of excuse for these poor displays and results and put the blame primarily on everyone and everything else but themselves. Can't unlock their defense? That's OUR problem, not theirs.
on the 30th September, 2013 at 2:15pm
It would be really great if Serie A teams started playing Juventus instead of bus-parking and man-marking. So far this season not one team has actually played Juve--excluding Lazio in the Supercup, and look how that went. And you watch, Roma will also bus-park and man-mark when they play Juve. The terror of these teams to play their game against a stronger team is comical and sad for the entire league.
on the 30th September, 2013 at 1:48pm
@serieAStar...I dont understand your comments about FIGC wanting to build up Juventus!! Is this the same FIGC that smeared Juve with match fixing allegations that it never managed to prove? Is this the same FIGC that demoted an innocent team to Serie B and as a result set the club back by almost a decade? or is it the same FIGC that banned Conte for 3 months based on a statement made by 'one' player who himself was involved in a match fixing scandal?
on the 30th September, 2013 at 1:29pm
This article seems familiar. Oh, yes it is Serie A, and we must remember it is always full of controversy. Give it a couple of years and the scandal will come out once again.
How the Pogba goal is allowed is typical of this league and its ongoing farce of how to make the top teams advance.FIGC wants to build up Juventus so that they can show well in CL and bring glory and $$$ back to Serie A.
Lets keep a tally..Juventus has been gifted 6 points thus far.
on the 30th September, 2013 at 12:37pm
Watching on tv, when Pogba scored, I didn't think Tevez was in an offside position, and nobody of Beinsport's broadcast team ever even hinted that it was offside. When I later saw replays, it seemed clear why: Tevez was dragged, rugby style, by a Toro defender into his position and didn't seem to know much about his headed effort. Bravo to the ref for not awarding the penalty and to let Pogba's strike stand. Of course, had a penalty been awarded to Tevez, they would still be spitting poison.
on the 30th September, 2013 at 11:45am
I am a Roma fan. How much longer can this go on!!
on the 30th September, 2013 at 11:03am
as Juve fan i must say i am deeply frustrated, annoyed and really embarrassed by these results. Indeed Torino is bad as well, but as reigning champions we should play better than depends on some stupid match official decisions and own goals.

Juve's performance recently really makes me puke. I hope we lose, just to wake everybody up.
on the 30th September, 2013 at 10:12am
The truth of the Derby is that one team played to attack and win whilst the other had zero attempts on goal. The same team that attacked played fairly, whereas the other committed countless cynical fouls, including a punch to Marchisio's back. Toro's players dived and tried time and again to con the ref, and after the game they complain that they were cheated. Tevez is left with holes in his ankle. Toro: no class, no respect, just cheats and liars.
on the 30th September, 2013 at 9:48am
If any team is to benefit from a goal that IS offside, based on statistics, it will be the team that had 20 shots on goal to the oppositions zero.

If one team has 60% of ball possession, odds are they will receive 60% of freekicks. Probability is a universal law. Look at every casino on earth. Its undeniable.

If the officials were guilty of favouring Juve, they wouldnt have hesitated to send off Immobile. Shocking foul - dont even compare it to Marchsio or Pogba's challenges.
on the 30th September, 2013 at 9:29am

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