MILAN (Reuters) – Talking points from the Serie A weekend where Juventus won 3-0 at Fiorentina to move eleven points clear at the top of the standings while controversy erupted after AS Roma’s 2-2 draw at home to Inter Milan.
VARROWERUPTS AT ROMA
The video assistant referee (VAR) system was at the centre of another heated debate after AS Roma claimed they were denied a clear penalty in the 2-2 draw at home to Inter Milan when Nicolo Zaniolo appeared to be tripped by Danilo D’Ambrosio.
Inter almost immediately went down the other end of the pitch and opened the scoring.
As often happens, the issue centred around why match referee Gianluca Rocchi did not consult the pitchside monitor.
Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco did not speak to the media, instead sending out club director and former player Francesco Totti.
“I ask myself how the VAR guys can fail to see a foul like that,” said Totti. “It’s an embarrassment – it was impossible not to spot it. We all saw it in the stadium, with a smaller screen than they have.
“The VAR has been introduced for a reason, precisely to re-watch incidents that the referee has missed. This was so clear. The referee may have missed it but the VAR people couldn’t have done.
“That sort of mistake can change the course of the whole championship.”
Inter Milan coach Luciano Spalletti joined in the VAR debate, claiming his side should also have had a penalty late in the game for a push on captain Mauro Icardi.
“Rocchi refereed well and there was one incident for each side,” said Spalletti, who added that he even agreed with Rocchi’s decision to send him off after he lost his temper with a decision.
“You can’t say one is definitely worthy of VAR and the other isn’t… Besides, people complain there are too many incidents and then it drags the game on too much.”
Zaniolo’s progress has been arguably the high point of what has been a difficult campaign so far for seventh-placed Roma.
The 19-year-old, signed from Inter at the start of the season, gave another accomplished performance in midfield on Sunday.
“He looks like a seasoned pro – he plays with simplicity and ease,” said Totti. “He’s showing how good he is – he’s explosive, strong and has good technique.
“The boy has the creativity needed to become a top player.” Zaniolo has also been called up by Italy coach Roberto Mancini, though he has yet to play for his country.
Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi was so angry with his team’s first-half performance in the 1-1 draw at bottom-of-the-table Chievo that he wanted to substitute the entire team.
“Our approach was terrible,” he said, after his side trailed at the break to their winless opponents. “When we finished the first half, I told the lads: ‘We can’t do worse than that.’
“It’s disappointing because it had never happened in three years. I wanted to replace all 11 players at halftime, but seeing as I couldn’t, I had to ask them to put in a different performance.”
Lazio dropped out of the top four and were replaced by AC Milan.
AC Milan’s 20-year-old forward Patrick Cutrone produced another impressive performance, volleying the equaliser in a 2-1 win over Parma which lifted his side to fourth.
“He lives for the goal and he’s got fire in his veins,” said Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso.
“He’s also stopped that chitchat about him not playing well when he is included from the start. Given his age, there is still a lot of areas where he can improve.”
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Christian Radnedge)