Monday February 24 2014
Holy della Mole!

A flash of genius, puzzling tactics and a dash of refereeing controversy made for an intriguing Turin derby. Giancarlo Rinaldi examines events in the Juventus Stadium and elsewhere in Serie A.

This time there was no need to take to Twitter to show off his post-match injuries. Carlitos Tevez did his talking on the pitch in the Turin derby with a strike worthy of winning any match. In the process, he joined Giuseppe Rossi at the top of the goalscoring charts while cementing Juve’s seat at the head of the Serie A table.

Yet this Derby della Mole was a curious game in many aspects. The Bianconeri had a couple of scares early on before turning up the temperature to really start grilling the Granata. It served up one searing strike from their South American hitman and an emphatic victory seemed to be the only possible outcome on the menu.

But the second half dished up radically different fare. After 15 minutes of bland produce from both sides, Toro suddenly decided to take a gamble and throw all their spicy attacking options into the pot. It was almost too tasty for the home team to handle.

Two decisions from referee Nicola Rizzoli left a particularly bitter taste for Granata fans. The first was not to book Arturo Vidal for a handball offence when he had already received a yellow card. The second was to caution Omar El Kaddouri for a dive in the penalty box when replays showed contact with Andrea Pirlo. Boss Giampiero Ventura faced his post-match interviews with a mixture of pride and regret.

“We couldn’t have forced the play like we did in the last half hour for the whole game,” he insisted. “But it’s rare to see Juventus in such difficulty in the Juventus Stadium. After the first 15 minutes of the second half, they didn’t manage a shot on goal. If Rizzoli had seen the penalty, maybe we would have had an even better result.”

“From the replays, you can see he touched me,” added a disappointed El Kaddouri. “I think it was a clear penalty.”

Antonio Conte, shown the incident, had a slightly different view. “Anything could have happened,” he claimed. “He could have booked El Kaddouri or he could have given the penalty.” And, in fairness, the attacking-midfielder’s fall did seem to have some time delay after the initial contact. That won’t, of course, be any consolation for Toro fans who had reason for recrimination at the final whistle.

“These are tough games,” admitted Coach Conte. “Torino had nothing to lose - they are already safe and, along with Verona, they are the real revelations of the season. We tried to give them little chance to break. With Alessio Cerci, Ciro Immobile and El Kaddouri, they can hurt anyone.”

The end result was a response to Roma who had enjoyed a 1-0 win of their own against Bologna on Saturday night with Radja Nainggolan getting his first goal for the Giallorossi. It was not the finest performance Rudi Garcia’s side has ever produced but it was further proof of their growing maturity. With Napoli and Fiorentina to play on Monday evening, it made the capital club’s second place look all the more comfortable.

Those delayed matches should have allowed Inter to turn up the heat on the Viola and Partenopei but they failed in their mission to string three wins in a row together. Instead, they were held to a draw by visiting Cagliari in a game which singularly failed to stir the blood. It seems to be two steps forward and one backwards for the Nerazzurri at the moment, even if their boss Walter Mazzarri felt they deserved a penalty for a foul on Mauro Icardi.

“It was such a clear foul how can I not mention it? It’s incredible,” he stated. This was a distinct U-turn from a manager who just last week said he would no longer comment on refereeing errors after his own team got the benefit of one against Fiorentina. But veteran Serie A watchers know that the only thing consistent about this Division is its inconsistency.

Frustration among black-and-blue supporters will only have been exacerbated by their red-and-black cousins getting another win, this time against Sampdoria. Adel Taarabt confirmed his quick adjustment to the Italian game with the opening goal for Milan. Another new boy, Adil Rami, added a second although this one put fire in the belly of the home support. Most Doriani thought Giampaolo Pazzini had fouled goalkeeper Angelo da Costa in the build-up to the goal. Neutrals, however, would accept that the Rossoneri were probably worth their win overall.

Verona continued their impressive season with a madcap 3-2 triumph away to Livorno. Bosko Jankovic, Romulo and Luca Toni had them three clear by half-time and they had numerous opportunities to extend their lead before Paulinho and Leandro Greco made them sweat. Nonetheless, Andrea Mandorlini’s side held firm to take another step towards the Europa League.

With Udinese and Atalanta sharing a point each which shuffled them a little closer to safety, the biggest movers in the lower reaches were Chievo who hit a couple of goals past hapless Catania to leapfrog their opponents out of the drop zone. However, a definite gap has developed between the bottom five and the rest of the League with Cagliari hovering somewhere in between. Atalanta, Samp and Udinese could yet get dragged back in there, but it looks unlikely right now.

Sunday night saw Lazio put another nail into Sassuolo’s coffin but there were jeers for the Biancocelesti at the final whistle from their own fans. Stefan Radu hit the pick of the goals in their 3-2 triumph but large sections of the Roman club’s support seem to be up in arms at the running of the club by President Claudio Lotito and his cohorts. They are angry at what they perceive as a lack of investment in their team and have started a campaign for regime change. And where is it running? Why on Twitter, of course.

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...
You lot are all mental, they robbed them and then they robbed them blah blah blah, Let me guess did Lazio rob the title in 2000? or did Roma rob the title in 2001? NO... fact is this, most of you on here will find something wrong with which ever team wins the tile. If Verona win it you will say they got some penalties or offside goals blah blah
on the 25th February, 2014 at 4:34pm
I hope Juventus bonus points don't cost Roma the Scudetto, just like they were robbed of two titles when Inter were consistently awarded offside goals.
Conte said the decision could have gone either way. Let’s see it happen to him and he’ll do his usual howl job. Torino had a blatant penalty, but it was no conspiracy. As for the Vidal handball it was totally accidental and it's farcical to expect a yellow card for that. They're the types of handball penalties that Inter were awarded when they ’won’ their scudetti. First, they stole Juventus Scudetto, when proven just as guilty as Juventus, then with the referees help stole two Scudetti from Roma.
on the 25th February, 2014 at 9:36am
Someone needs to moderate these posts and delete the rubbish. Man filled with biggots? I count one coach of color in Serie A and he sits on Milan's bench.

As for the statement regarding the lack of Italian players in Inter's squad--it is dagong to Serie A for all of the reasons outlined by Maldini's Heir. It's also bad for Inter. The league is sprinkled with players like Destro who came up in Inter's system and are now helping other teams win.
on the 25th February, 2014 at 5:23am
Hey Maldini did Sass get saved from a last minute drop of points? Did Chievo lose when they played poorly? How about Parma, have they had a player sent off when they were supposed to? How about RuBe last season when they and BBilan got 20 games each with advantages from referees both with reds cards to the opposition and penalties in favor? How about all the goals that get canceled? Did Sass get those too, goals canceled after an on field intimidation session?

There are two weights. Wake up.
on the 25th February, 2014 at 4:08am
PS kudos to the genius who decided that a foul on a player is at the same time a dive by the player! That one takes a true RuBetino - self delusional and never to blame. Nice to see that RuBe tradition of deflecting blame to cover "referee controversy" as F-I puts it. Or as I put it, another Fiat for Rizzi-baby!
on the 25th February, 2014 at 3:54am
Inter have not been fortunate this season with crucial calls except for the offside goal by icardi not a single penalty called this season. Its becoming humorous to watch inters matches and see clear penaltys waved off see the players of opposing side abuse us in the box and nothing called and they know nothings going to be called. Sure inter are doing themselves no favors and playing pretty poorly but still it would be nice if we could catch a break and be able to change a game like anyone else
on the 25th February, 2014 at 12:36am
I am an inter fan but I'm also realistic. Inter have not been up to snuff for better parts of this season juve have I can admit that they truly are the best side in serie a but what most inter fans and fans of other clubs are annoyed by is the constant good fortune of refereeing decisions in juve's favor. Yes you have to play to win but we all know this sport is cruel and sometime the best team doesn't win good fortune can turn a game on its head and change a match.
on the 25th February, 2014 at 12:25am
Not to mention the fact that they should have Lucas Moura if they didn't try to throw a lowball offer on the table. They could have got way more money for Maicon and Sneijder if they sold them at the proper time. Throw in several pointless acquisitions like Alvaro Perreira, Kuzmanovic, Mudingayi, Rocchi, etc. and it goes to show how poorly Inter has been run lately.
on the 24th February, 2014 at 11:43pm
Ibrahimovic, Eto'o, Balotelli, Santon, Bonucci, Coutinho, Biabiany, Maicon, Sneijder, Viviano, Caldirola, Bardi, Donati, Acquafresca, Thiago Motta, Pandev, Destro, Poli, Pazzini, Maxwell, Livaja, Kucka, Muntari, Cassano, Julio Cesar all wore black and blue in the recent past. Surely some of these uys could help them right now. No Inter should not blame referees for their issues. There is plenty of blame to go around the entire organization.
on the 24th February, 2014 at 11:31pm
If people want those El Kaddouri penalties given, then they should call for complete video referring or get God to referee. It was silly of Pirlo and was a penalty but it was also a dive. Just like the 1st derby Torinos defensive tactics troubled Juve but that doesn't mean they deserved a draw. Inter fans are offside again maybe they should concentrate on beating cagliari maybe they'll stick to being voyeurs and watch other teams win or they busy spying on Guarin. Inter=snake
on the 24th February, 2014 at 10:48pm
@Anon, way down there: You obviously didn't understand what I wrote, but then you're not here to understand, you're here to rant. Rant on, under your blinding disco ball. Does anybody else hear Super Freak while reading Anon, way down there?

Fino alla fine! Cuore alla Juve!
on the 24th February, 2014 at 10:30pm
I have to say as a die hard Napoli fan..and fellow Neapolitans you are not going to like this..but Juve are on top of the Seria A for one reason only..they deserve it! Because they are the best team in Serie A and they play wonderful football. So please enough with this referee rubbish all the time. If like me and, if most of you on this blog are Anglo-Italian you would be proud proud of Juve as they are making great progress in their standing in Europe...Oh no Genoa has just scored! Arrrrrrrrrr
on the 24th February, 2014 at 9:49pm
@ Interista23 Do Sassuolo also get all the decisions from refs? They've got more penalties than Juve this season! Or maybe there's a conspiracy against Parma, Atlanta and Chievo? They got no penalties before January? Or maybe you're just talking nonsense! The issue with the lack of Italians (apart from all the dodgy passports) is that each country has to develop it's own players or else the league and the national team suffer. Inter do produce young players but they never get near the first team
on the 24th February, 2014 at 9:34pm
To All anti Juve fans saying juventus has the ref's in their pockets and they'll win it the third time which is absurd, because it takes a great team and a great organization to win a third scudetto which ofcourse is Juventus. Oh Look no calciopoli!........ GIVE ME A BREAK PEOPLE PLEASE enough with the conspiracy theories. Let's just play soccer like the rest of Europe does, For cryin out loud ONLY IN ITALY this "S@#T" happens.
on the 24th February, 2014 at 8:56pm
BTW! TO ALL INTERISTA'S stop whining about other teams first and second clean up your own House. Oh and PLEASE get some FRIGGIN ITALIANS IN YOUR SQUAD for the love of SERIA A your in ITALY heaven sakes. Lest we not forget your last couple of titles was thanks to MORATTI'S and INTER'S calciopoli plot that worked to a tee...... and Juve's relegation, "GLASS HOUSES INTER". Remember the Guarin/Vucinic deal that INTER Faltered. Once again interistas look in the mirror before you sling mud.
on the 24th February, 2014 at 8:42pm
Interista, Never mind your stupid conspiracy theories. I know thats all you Inter fans have to stand on. You would be respected more if you bitched less. Juve as a club take endless amounts of crap from everyone in Italy-from governing bodies to whining presidents of rival teams-yet all we do is got out and win! We do our talking on the field! Scudettos are revoked, we get sent to Serie B, you take our best players, yet we come back stronger!
on the 24th February, 2014 at 8:37pm
You know it blows me away when the theatrics of opposing players when they fall in the penalty box and get ruled a penalty kick by a mere push. Let alone in the MLS it would take a body tackle from a football player to put an MLS player in the box down to get a call. When Juve get a call going their way everybody cries "foul",when Juve knocks a player down everyone cries "Murder", when certain other teams ex: Inter or Roma LOSE to Juventus ALL OF A SUDDEN the REF's in their pocket. STOP CRYING.
on the 24th February, 2014 at 8:28pm
Rube fans, it was a penalty no matter how hard you try to justify it. Softer penalties have been called in Rube's favor. Harder penalties don't get called in Inter's favor. We even got a penalty called against us for an involuntary handball on Juan Jesus....
on the 24th February, 2014 at 8:24pm
Does anyone really care what Inter fans think when they went 2+ years without having a penalty call against them?
on the 24th February, 2014 at 8:23pm
LOL what a bunch of racists and xenophobes, I guess you're all Italians. Just because Inter lacks any good Italian player, we must not be contributing to Serie A. I forgot Serie A was just about Italians. In case you didn't know or forgot, INTERNAZIONALE was formed when they split off from the racist xenophobic Milan team. Inter is an inclusive team.
on the 24th February, 2014 at 8:22pm

Thats where youre wrong. A "touch" does NOT warrant a foul. It is deemed a foul when an opponent prevents you from playing the ball without playing it himself. If I walk up to you and place my index finger on your shoulder and you collapse because there was "contact", as you put it, it does not mean its a penalty even if it against Juventus. He was standing after "contact with his full weight on that leg with no issues then fell.
on the 24th February, 2014 at 8:12pm
Not a surprise that Inter fans identify with Toro - they have much in common. I think I have figured out how Interisti think. It goes something like this. "Whenever we do not get a result, it is not our fault. Our team was not at fault, nor was our coach. It has nothing to do with our inability to score goals, to defend, to win tackles, to play with tactics, to play fairly, not dive, etc. No. It is because Juventus stole the points. How unfair! I hate you, Juve. Stop it, or I'll go mental"
on the 24th February, 2014 at 8:01pm
Congrats to F-I for being real RuBe fans by choosing to ignore all the referee incidents that favor RuBe this season. It must have been hard work to try and come up with new ways to describe cheating.

"Referee controversy" is a funny one. It kind of suggests that other might have seen something unlawful, but that the writer of the article can't really be sure what that something was. I think that it takes real talent to be that morally dysfunctional.
on the 24th February, 2014 at 7:41pm
Anyone else remember when the RuBe fans were all bragging that they were going to win the treble this season?

Now all they have to hang their hats on is to cheat their way through Serie A. Are they that worried about their precious pride? All their ambitions at the start of the season have gone up in smoke and now they are left with making sure that they can't be faulted for not winning Serie A?

At least they have the 12th man on the field.
on the 24th February, 2014 at 7:34pm
A touch in the box doesnt mean its a penalty, if el kaddouri had gone down from the challenge he wouldve gotten the penalty, he didnt, he took another step and then flung himself on the ground. id love to see football go back to the old days when you would actually see a few tackles, its getting to be a joke....a touch in the box means its a penalty my a*^e
on the 24th February, 2014 at 7:33pm
I love how Inter gets a favorable call in one game, gets reamed by refs in 10 games - including not a single penalty in 27 straight games - and all of a sudden Inter shouldn't complain.

RuBe get away with not getting a play thrown out plus a penalty not called and they are "conning the ref"! I like it. It means that RuBe will be visiting Serie B again soon and we can call them RuBBe, kind of like we call their best buddies BBilan.

So Yay! to the most points reduced team in Serie A History!
on the 24th February, 2014 at 7:31pm
I love how some RuBe fan in Canada suddenly knows the age of every Anti-RuBe supporter out there, including this one, who is in his 20s.

Uh oh, it seems like there is a lying RuBentus guy out there. Strange? Nope not at all, just a Rube supporter.
on the 24th February, 2014 at 7:27pm
Ahh so nice to see that old chestnut about Inter and the Azzurri from a Milan supporter. Inter have contributed 1 player in the ten years to the Azzurri and still have contributed more to the National Team overall. I think that says something about BBilan, don't you? Of course not. You lack that intelligence. Feel free to ask your mother when you go upstairs for dinner, okay sonny?

Having said that, I will admit that Inter have contributed less to Italian referees than have BBilan and RuBe.
on the 24th February, 2014 at 7:25pm
@Maldini's Heir
Sorry man but we actually have a fair bit to complain bout, like not being awarded a penalty for OVER A YEAR when roughly half of Milan's goal tally last season were pens, and how the boxes at the Rube stadio are seemingly rule-free zones. And ya know why that is, cos we don't have a president who makes refs offers they cant refuse. And less than two thirds of serie a clubs provide to the Azzurri, so that's hardly a stick to beat anyone with let alone us.
on the 24th February, 2014 at 7:12pm

No but try, De Scgilio,Montilivo,Balotelli,SES (if he gets fit in time) Abate.

At least 3 starts for the national. Do your research before you talk.

I'd take milan's squad in a heartbeat before Inters. Most people would.

As for Juve clearly they deserve to be on top even though they've been somewhat fortunate over last ref calls.
on the 24th February, 2014 at 6:40pm

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