Roma and Lazio denied by VAR while Benevento win at last

Roma and Lazio denied by VAR while Benevento win at last
Soccer Football - Serie A - Inter Milan vs Lazio - San Siro, Milan, Italy - December 30, 2017 Inter Milan's Ivan Perisic shoots at goal REUTERS/Massimo Pinca
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MILAN (Reuters) – AS Roma were twice denied a goal by the video assistant referee (VAR) in a 1-1 draw at home to Sassuolo in Serie A on Saturday while Benevento finally won their first top-flight match, beating Chievo 1-0.

Lazio were also aggrieved after having a second-half penalty revoked by the VAR in a 0-0 draw at fading Inter Milan, who are winless in their last four games in all competitions and have not scored in the last three.

Paulo Dybala scored twice in the last 20 minutes, the second a gem where he skipped through the defence, to give second-placed Juventus a 3-1 win at Verona which kept them one point behind leaders Napoli.

Midfielder Blaise Matuidi gave Juve an early lead before Martin Caceres stunned the titleholders by equalising with a diagonal 25-metre strike before the hour.

Gennaro Gattuso’s AC Milan, meanwhile, avoided a third successive league defeat as they battled to a 1-1 draw at Fiorentina.

At the halfway mark in Serie A, Napoli lead with 48 points after Friday’s 1-0 win over Crotone with Juve on 47. Inter stayed third but dropped seven points behind Napoli with Roma fourth (39) and Lazio fifth (37).

Roma went ahead after 31 minutes when Lorenzo Pellegrini turned in Edin Dzeko’s pass from 12 metres to score against his former club.

Dzeko thought he had added Roma’s second goal when he rifled a shot past Andrea Consigli only to see the goal chalked off for a marginal offside decision after the referee consulted the VAR.

Simone Missiroli headed Sassuolo level in the 78th minute before Alessandro Florenzi, making his 200th appearance for Roma, had a goal disallowed for offside against Cengiz Under, a decision also made with the use of VAR.

Inter and Lazio both had good chances at San Siro but the talking point was the penalty decision on the hour.

Ciro Immobile’s cross hit Inter defender Milan Skriniar on the leg and then arm, the referee initially pointed to the spot and then changed his mind after consulting the VAR.

Benevento, who had taken one point from their first 18 games in their debut Serie A season, broke their duck when Massimo Coda scored with an improvised flick from a corner in the 64th minute.

Giovanni Simeone headed Fiorentina in front against 11th-placed AC Milan after 71 minutes but Hakan Calhanolgu levelled three minutes later — the first time this season Milan have avoided defeat in a league game after falling behind.

Udinese overcame an own goal against Bologna to clock up their fifth successive win since Massimo Oddo took over as coach.

Danilo contrived to flick a harmless-looking cross into his own net but Silvan Widmer headed Udinese level before halftime and Kevin Lasagna scored for the fifth game in a row early in the second half

Fabio Quagliarella scored two late goals to give Sampdoria a 2-0 win over SPAL and Cagliari pulled off a shock 2-1 win at Atalanta.

(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne; Editing by Clare Fallon and Pritha Sarkar)

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