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BREAKING NEWS

Five talking points from the Serie A weekend

Five talking points from the Serie A weekend
Soccer Football - Serie A - Juventus v Sampdoria - Allianz Stadium, Turin, Italy - December 29, 2018 Sampdoria coach Marco Giampaolo before the match REUTERS/Massimo Pinca -
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MILAN (Reuters) - Genoa's 1-1 draw with AS Roma ended in confusion over who should have taken the penalty they missed in stoppage time, Sampdoria coach Marco Giampaolo said he was tired of mid-table anonymity and there was the usual VAR row in Serie A at the weekend.

GENOA PENALTY CONFUSION

Genoa substitute Antonio Sanabria's missed penalty in the 1-1 draw against Roma led to confusion over whether the Paraguayan should have taken it in the first place -- and not even coach Cesare Prandelli was sure of the answer.

"For me, Domenico Criscito is the first penalty taker, although when Sanabria was in the starting line-up it was him," said Prandelli.

"In general, it's whoever feels up to it. Sanabria won the penalty, he went up to the spot and they agreed that he take it."

Sanabria, who came on in the 83rd minute, started several games in February and March and has been relegated to the substitutes bench since.

Criscito appealed for fans to calm down after a row blew up on social media.

"Enough of useless controversies," he said. "When Sanabria and myself are both on the pitch, he has always been the penalty taker. If we could do it again, Sanabria would take the penalty."

The draw left Genoa flirting with relegation as they are four points clear of the danger zone with three matches to go.

GIAMPAOLO ISSUES SAMPDORIA ULTIMATUM

Sampdoria coach Marco Giampaolo, tired of seeing his team finish in mid-table, has threatened to walk away if the club fail to strengthen the squad.

"I'm not prepared to go through another season of living anonymously," said Giampaolo, who is about to complete his third season in charge.

"In these three seasons, we have improved but now we need to take a step upwards," he said after the 3-3 draw with Parma which left his side ninth in the standings.

"We have sold so many important players. Those who have stayed have done well, and the scouts have found good alternatives. But we need to start growing, otherwise what else is there for me to do here?" added Giampaolo whose words may resonate with coaches of mid-table sides around Europe.

ANOTHER VAR ROW

Napoli's dramatic 2-1 win over Cagliari, thanks to a penalty converted by Lorenzo Insigne in the eighth minute of stoppage time, prompted the inevitable row over a VAR decision.

Faouzi Ghoulam's cross hit Fabrizio Cacciatore's elbow at close range although it appeared the Cagliari defender was just outside the penalty.

However, after a lengthy VAR review, referee Daniele Chiffi pointed to the spot, incensing the Sardinians so much that both Artur Ionita and coach Rolando Maran were sent off.

VAR reviews have been widely used in Serie A this season but, in many cases, have created rather than avoided controversy.

"VAR is a great instrument but when it is used like that, it becomes a joke," said Cagliari's sporting director Marcello Carli.

Even Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti was unsure.

"It was really difficult to judge.....sometimes those decisions favour you, sometimes they go against you," he said.

FROSINONE YO-YO ACT CONTINUES

Frosinone's second season Serie A has ended in exactly the same fashion as their first -- with relegation.

Promoted for the first time in 2015, they went straight back down, were promoted again two seasons later and are now on their way back to Serie B where they will be among the favourites to go up next season.

"There's not much to say," said coach Marco Baroni after their fate was sealed by a 2-2 draw with Sassuolo. "We were unlucky at times but it's also true that we never found any consistency at home. Now, we will think about the future."

NOW YOU SEE HIM, NOW YOU DON'T

Inter Milan coach Luciano Spalletti gave one of the shortest press conferences of the season after the 0-0 draw with Udinese -- 40 seconds. Greeted by an almost empty room, he answered one question before making his getaway.

(Reporting by Brian Homewood, editing by Ed Osmond)

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