MILAN (Reuters) – Five talking-points from the Serie A weekend:
SARRIWANTSJUVENTUS TO LIQUIDATEMATCHES, NOTADMINISTER
One of Massimiliano Allegri’s favourite themes during his five years at Juventus coach, which saw him win five successive Serie A titles, was the importance of “administering the match.”
Allegri would frequently emphasise that his team should pace themselves and not relentlessly push forward, even against weaker opponents. It was effective but, by the end of his spell in charge, Juve had become a somewhat unsatisfying team to watch.
Maurizio Sarri, who replaced Allegri after the end of last season, has taken a different approach as he explained after Saturday’s 2-1 win over Bologna which kept the Turin side top of the league standings.
“I don’t want to administer the matches, I want to liquidate them,” he said.
“I told the lads that we mustn’t try to control a game, sit on a lead or be comfortable because otherwise we leave ourselves in these risky situations to the very end. We have to keep attacking until the result is assured.”
The interpretation of the handball rule was under the spotlight again after Bologna were denied a stoppage-time penalty.
Juventus defender Matthijs De Ligt slipped as he tried to clear the ball and kicked it against his trailing arm. However, the referee did not review the incident on the pitch side monitor, instead relying on a silent check from VAR officials who ruled it was not a penalty.
“It seemed to me that the arm was raised excessively,” said Bologna’s assistant coach Emilio De Leo.
“The referee could have gone and looked at it. It would’ve been a nice advert for Serie A to show our club was being properly protected — we would have appreciated it if the referee could have reviewed it himself.”
BUFFON TO THERESCUE
Juventus were also indebted to veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon who made an outstanding stoppage time save from Federico Santander.
He may 41 and now a reserve to Wojciech Szczesny but Buffon is still as agile as ever as he showed with his fingertip saved to turn away the Paraguayan’s bicycle kick.
Lazio’s 3-3 draw at home to Atalanta ended in an angry row between the two clubs after Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini accused Lazio forward Ciro Immobile of diving to win a penalty.
Lazio, who hit back from 3-0 down to grab a point, responded with an official club statement describing Gasperini’s comments as unjustifiable and unacceptable.
“The bitterness at letting victory slip from their grasp is understandable but in no way justifies the attempt to reject the result on the field by formulating imaginative and bizarre theories and questioning the seriousness of an exemplary player like Ciro Immobile,” it read.
That prompted a quick reply from Atalanta: “We are stunned by the comments and feel it is our duty to intervene by pointing out that criticism is legitimate,” it said. “It is only right that our employees are free to express their thoughts as they wish.”
END OF THEROADFORANDREAZZOLI?
Genoa coach Aurelio Andreazzoli appeared to accept that his time was up after a 5-1 defeat by Parma left them one place off the bottom with five points.
“I’ve been in football for a long time and know that certain situations lead to certain decisions,” said Andreazzoli who has been in charge for nine competitive games. “I can control what happens on the pitch but there are other things which do not depend on me.”
(Writing by Brian Homewood; Editing by Christian Radnedge)