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Five talking-points from the Serie A weekend

Five talking-points from the Serie A weekend
Soccer Football - Serie A - Juventus v Frosinone - Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy - February 15, 2019 Juventus' Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring their third goal with Paulo Dybala REUTERS/Massimo Pinca -
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MILAN (Reuters) - Juventus, chasing an eighth consecutive Serie A title, moved 13 points clear at the top after a weekend featuring a remarkable sequence of events involving VAR while the saga involved Inter Milan forward Mauro Icardi continued.

VAR DISALLOW GOALS AND AWARDS PENALTY AT OTHER END

There was an extraordinary incident involving the VAR system in the SPAL-Fiorentina match when a goal was disallowed at one of the field and a penalty awarded for a previous incident at the other.

The match was level at 1-1 when Fiorentina had penalty appeals waved away for an alleged foul on Federico Chiesa, SPAL broke down the other end and Mattia Valoti scored for the hosts.

It took referee Luca Pairetto nearly one minute after the SPAL goal to indicate that a review was under way over the penalty incident and another two minutes to award the spot kick to Fiorentina which was converted by Jordan Veretout. Fiorentina went on to win 4-1.

"If you are going to stop play and go back through everything that happened over the last five or six minutes for a so-called foul like that, then football becomes laughable," said SPAL president Walter Mattioli.

"It wasn't a clear foul, maybe they trod on his toe," he added.

ICARDI "LOST A LEG" AFTER CAPTAINCY TAKEN AWAY

Inter Milan forward Mauro Icardi felt as if he had lost a leg when he was stripped of the captaincy last week, his wife and agent Wanda Nara said in a television programme on Sunday night.

Icardi has missed two Inter games since he lost the armband amid protracted contract negotiations but Nara said the Argentine wanted to stay at the club.

"Inter are our family and we don't want to the leave," Nara said during the Tiki-Taka programme. "When they took away the captaincy, it was like losing a leg for Mauro."

TOO EASY FOR JUVENTUS

If ever a match raised questions about the competitive balance of Serie A, it was Juventus' 3-0 win over next-to-bottom Frosinone.

A quick look at the figures showed the remarkable financial gulf between the two sides: Juve's squad has a market value of 797 million euros ($901 million), according to the specialist website Transfermarkt, compared to 43.6 million for Frosinone.

The Turin side barely broke sweat and the match was effectively over by the 17th minute when they were already 2-0 up.

The remaining 70 minutes resembled a training session and made for poor viewing except for the most diehard Juventus fanatics.

Thirteen points clear, Juventus remain unbeaten and have dropped only six points in 24 games this season.

Curiously, despite the utter dominance of many games, Juventus seem happy to pace themselves and yet have to score more than three goals in a game.

"It was very difficult to face Juventus tonight, as the amount of technical quality they had on the field made the difference," said Frosinone coach Marco Baroni.

GENOA LOST ONE MARKSMAN, FIND ANOTHER

Genoa lost topscorer Krzysztof Piatek when he joined AC Milan in the winter transfer window but they have quickly found another one.

Having inherited Piatek's number nine shirt, Paraguayan Antonio Sanabria has continued where the Pole left off by scoring three goals in his first four league matches including the equaliser in their 2-1 win over Lazio on Sunday.

TORINO NOT APPRECIATED

Ninth-placed Torino are not getting the recognition they deserve, coach Walter Mazzarri said after they held second-placed Napoli to a 0-0 draw on Sunday.

One newspaper described Torino's display as a "Catenaccio" performance -- the defensive style often associated with Italian football in the 1980s and 1990s -- but Mazzarri said Napoli prevented his side from playing.

"Overall, we have fewer points than we deserved because refereeing error prevented us from getting several wins," he said. "It’s disappointing as with those results we’d be talking about an incredible Torino campaign."

($1 = 0.8845 euros)

(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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